Saturday, May 21, 2011

Late May Garden Update

Well...for a variety of reasons  excuses, my May garden feels like it is running pretty far behind. 

There's the damn critters, of course, varmints, rodents, critters, a-holes, whatever you want to call them who dig around and ate a ton of my seeds and my first lettuce sprouts - I feel that shaking my angry fist their way is totally justified.

I'd like to blame Millie a bit, too, as she can be a menace and keeps laying in beds where she shouldn't be laying (strawberry dog, anyone?). But I can't. She's a good girl - and so damn cute.


So that leaves me, myself, and I to blame, per usual. Oh well. It'll all work out.

This season, as a result of the critters AND the fact that hopefully (wishing praying hoping) we'll be moving by summer's end, I wanted to get a lot of the garden in more portable shape in case we move mid-season. Weird? Perhaps. I cut down my existing 4x4 garden boxes to 2x2 (or so) and added bottoms  and make-shift legs to them so theoretically we can move them to a new yard if/when the move happens.




While some things just stayed in the big boxes on the ground...


Then I decided we should ditch the strawberry pyramid by the driveway because it was so dug up last year by vermin, and by Millie trying to get the vermin. Of course, I decided it a bit late, so we already have some strawberry plants growing strong among the weeds.

But we took  a bunch of the smaller plants from there and expanded the existing strawberry bed along the tall fence. I will likely put a net over it to keep out birds and others.

The kids and I are already excited to see the strawberries-to-come growing in there. Nom nom nom!

Last year, late in the season, I picked up a trellis and a grape plant. In retrospect, not the best place to plant it. But it's growing, there are little buds, and I think what looks like little grape-bunches-to-be!

And the raspberries...well, I think we didn't prune them properly last year, so we'll just see what happens with them this year.

Even though I am not a "flower gardener" by any stretch, I do enjoy having flowers that just come up like an old friend stopping by for a visit. I plant things hoping they will be low maintenance, and usually have a great time watching them resurface and sometimes spread year to year.




DIANTHUS -I swear I purchased the plant 4 years ago or so and it just comes right up, in the pot which is usually left on its side all fall/winter, every spring without fail. Looking for something foolproof folks? Dianthus all the way.


VIBURNUM - Ellie loves shaking them to "make it snow"

DARN HONEYSUCKLE - Everyone else has issues with their honeysuckle taking over EVERYWHERE! I don't so much have that problem, but after a couple moves, it seems to be happy in its current location, hiding the rain barrels.

PRETTY PINK GERANIUM (surprise) - End of year gift from an instructor at work

THE HERBS - chives (also foolproof and perennial), basils, thyme, rosemary, catnip, parsley



My front yard is always a forgotten wasteland. Lots going on, but very hit or miss.

Except the peonies...They have been growing here since I was a girl and would come to my gram's house to visit. I love these flowers. Ants be damned, Peonies are grand!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Startin' the Garden...

EIGHTY FIVE DEGREES today, folks. 85. Degrees. In April. In Chicago.

60 and 50s this week.

I'll still take it.

This is what we do when we have 50s and 60s...

So you know I am awful at cleaning up the garden in the fall. EVERY YEAR. And every spring I claim I will not put it off that fall. And then I do put it off.

 I also claim every year that I am going to get grow lights and actually get my act together with growing seedlings in the basement. And then I don't grow anything.

So my garden boxes are a wreck of sorts - patypan squash that are dried out and like little paper lanterns. Holiday yard decorations that normally live behind the garage on top of weeds. 


And the lovely RATS (Yes, Rats) that plagued us last summer prompting me to abandon my love of spending time outside got into and ate a ton of my seeds that I had saved from last year's bounty.
Where was this guy last summer? Maybe he could have been a, ratter.

Shaking it off and getting ready for a new, awesome growing season. Planted some lettuce (Black-seeded Simpson and Romaine) and put in some onion sets, then started a bunch of seeds in my homemade cold frame. Hoping for the best on those little guys.

Grow, grow, grow!!!

Cherry tree has a few buds, as do the lilac bushes and the raspberries.  

Strawberries are coming out among the weeds that have gone unchecked for months. 
Hoping the sad grape vine will do ok this year...Strawberries here are going to be moved...Once I clear out these weeds...Yikes.

Chives are out and about and growing like crazy, as are my hyacinths. Rhubarb came up!

Buds on everything!

As we are hoping to move some time this year (possibly summer) I have been thinking of ways to make the garden somewhat portable in case we move mid-season. I will likely end up just transplanting everything as best I can. However, I have already pulled up 2 of my raised boxes from the back of the garden and may put a plywood base on them and put them up on a stand. In the space in that back corner I may finally put up the sunflower room I have wanted to do for a few years, but never quite got to it... I think a moss floor surrounded by a wall of sunflowers would be fabulous for hiding out in the summertime (For me AND the kids) (And probably the dog, too!)

 What are YOUR garden plans this year? Anything new and exciting?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Back for my usual January update...

After feeling so defeated after last season, I am getting amped up for a new season. I lay much of the credit for this on Baker Creek again, as their catalog leaves me drooling, though I also lean to D. Landreth for inspiration, as well.

Keep moving forward, right?

Anyway, we are in the process of looking for a new house, which may take some time. Of course, I am in a panic because like most gardening folks I know, your plans are laid out and in place by March, and who knows when we may find a place, close, and move? It could be March! It could be July! It could be October! What will I do with my garden???

Thankfully, I have already been doing Square Foot Gardening which I think will work to my benefit. My plan is to put bottoms on the boxes I have already built and perhaps put them up on "tables" made of plywood and horses so that if we end up moving mid-season, we can just hoist the "tables" up on the back of the truck and transfer it to the new yard. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Also, you know how after you spend a few years in the yard/garden, you have some plants and areas that you just adore and can't see leaving behind? Each seems to have  a story to tell.

- The cherry tree from Michael and Charlotte the Mother's Day I was pregnant with Eleanor. It needs to come with us. It's just 4 years old, so I am hoping moving it will not cause any irreparable trauma. (Again, suggestions?)

- The lilac bushes that I had in about 3 locations before finding they work best next to our swing along the driveway?

- The raspberries that felt like they would never grow and thrive, and now are a veritable patch, and so delicious, and that we munch on straight from the plant all summer?

- The strawberries that started with a couple plants and have multiplied like crazy and I hope will continue to grow like crazy?

- My mini-butterfly garden?

So I guess my question is how poor form is it to uproot everything and take it with us when we move? I feel like a total weirdo, but you know you invest so much blood, sweat, tears, time watching some of these little guys grow, cheering for them, crying when they die off, cultivating new spaces for them to thrive...What to do?

I think it helps that in all likelihood, it will either be a family member moving in here who has minimal (no) interest in gardening or the home may come down altogether, so I don't feel like we are baiting and switching anyone who is purchasing it from us, you know?

It will be bittersweet to not look out at the garden and think "that's exactly where my grandfather had his garden when I was a kid!" but that is a mindset I am battling in every aspect when I think of leaving here.

I need recommendations for the tree transplant for sure (we're just outside Chicago, in the near west suburbs), and any thoughts or suggestions for the other stuff would be appreciated, too!

design by