Archives For Gardening

Oh, how I love the month of June when the garden is full of surprises with nearly trip outside. The squash is starting to produce and there are tiny tomatoes all over tomato plants and we’re eating so many fresh vegetables and beginning to preserve our harvest.

We started gardening around mid-February when we planted our sugar snap peas, kale, collards and carrots. Our kale did very well and was harvested in early May and our sugar snap peas did very well this year too. We picked lots of sugar snap peas over nearly a 4 week period. Our kiddos favorite way to eat them was straight from the vine but we also added them to stir fry, ate them with hummus and I even tried a quart jar of refrigerator pea pickles (the kids love pickles but don’t love these just yet!)

Around mid-April, we had planted most of our garden for this summer. We planted onions, tomatoes, cabbage, squash, zucchini, cucumber, sweet corn, popcorn and peppers.  In early May, we added even more tomatoes, potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe and sweet potatoes.

We also added in 3 new raised beds this spring and I want to expand our garden even more!

Garden - April 24

This is our garden as it looked on April 24th.

Garden - June 6

This is the garden from earlier this week on June 6. It had rained nearly every day the previous week and all of our plants had experienced explosive growth (it had been very dry).

Sugar Snap Peas

Here’s one of our large pea harvests.

Broccoli and Squash

This is our very first squash of the summer and two broccoli crowns. Since we don’t spray, we battled cabbage worms for a couple weeks. Since we only had two broccoli plants this spring, we simply picked worms off every evening to try to prevent them from completely destroying the plant.

Little Farmer

Last night, Weston joined me and we harvested 3 squash and 1 zucchini. Harvesting is always fun for me but harvesting with my kiddos is even more fun.

Our garden is the largest we’ve ever had and we anticipate eating from our garden quite a bit this summer and hopefully preserving quite a bit, especially tomatoes. However, it’s still not large enough to fully feed us so we decided to join a CSA this summer.

We purchased a half share from a local-ish farm which has a drop in our area. The half share was $400 for 24 weeks which breaks down to just over $16.50 per week. We’re 3 weeks into our CSA and receiving our boxes each week has been such fun, I feel like a kid at Christmas every week when I dig into our box.

We joined the CSA to support local farmers as well as to try new vegetables and hopefully find more foods that we enjoy.

CSA Week 1

 

Week 1 box – This one included cherry tomatoes, peas, broccoli, baby collards, radishes, turnips and cabbage.

The baby collards, radishes and turnips are not vegetables I normally purchase. In fact, I didn’t even realize that radishes were a spicy vegetable. And, nobody in our family is a fan of the radishes, at least not yet!

I sautéed the baby collards, chopped them up and added them to a quiche, it was delicious.

I had cooked turnips only once before and nobody liked them, including me. I found this recipe for Scalloped Turnips which was super simple and very, very good. John David said they were the best turnips he’d ever had.

CSA Week 2

Week 2 box – Lettuce, cabbage, zuchinni, squash, tomato, broccoli, cucumber and daikon radish.

I was thrilled to have my first fresh tomato of the summer. I promptly made a loaf of sourdough bread and enjoyed a tomato sandwich which is my favorite way to eat tomatoes!

No one in our family loves cucumbers, unless they’re pickled. I’ll eat them but they’re not my favorite. I ate one with hummus and then added it to a salad, then other I tossed into pickle juice to make refrigerator pickles.

The daikon radish was a completely new vegetable, I had never even heard of it. I chopped it up and added it to a stir fry which seemed like an easy way to eat it. Neither John David or I liked it, the taste was pretty mild but it was quite stringy and I did not like the texture one bit.

CSA Week 3

Week 3 box – Tomatoes, turnips, cauliflower, squash, cucumber, collards and beets.

My kiddos were super excited about this box because it had beets! They watched an episode of A Chef’s Life a few weeks ago where Vivian made a beet cake and they’ve been hoping beets would show up in our box so we could make a beet cake.

I found this recipe for Fudgy Beet Cupcakes. I followed it exactly, except I did substitute milk for almond milk. The kids helped me prep the cake and were super excited to eat the cupcakes. They were surprisingly delicious. They were very moist and chocolatey but had a slight earthy flavor from the beets. Weston wasn’t a huge fan of these but everybody else really enjoyed them.

And, following the ‘waste not, want not’ motto, I even used the beet greens! I sautéed them in olive oil with onion and added them along with potatoes to a quiche was was pretty good.

We’re having the collards for dinner tonight with beans, cornbread and zuchinni relish which I’ve made from last week’s zuchinni from our CSA box and our zuchinni we’ve harvested.

I’m looking forward to harvesting even more, branching out and trying new veggies and recipes with our CSA veggies, preserving as much as I can and planning our fall garden in the weeks ahead.

Do you garden? What are you growing? 

It is my plan to start sharing a more personal post each week, giving you a glimpse into how we live an intentionally simple life. I’ll be sharing a photos of the boys, glimpses into our home/routines, updates on raising produce/chickens and more.

A glimpse into last week:

Snack Time

Last week we moved the little table back into the dining room. Back in December, we rearranged rooms and put it in Weston’s room, it was rarely used in there. We moved it back and already it’s been used almost daily for snacks and art time. Little Weston looks like such a big boy sitting at a table!

Baby Chicks

Our baby chicks are growing. Their wing feathers are really developing, it has been fun watching them change almost daily.

Clearing Brush

We’ve made quite a bit of progress on clearing the brush between the fences since last week. John David has taken off a few trailer loads of brush already and the space is looking great. (The trailer was borrowed, so thankful for friends who let us borrow big items so we don’t have to rent/purchase them!)

Floor Bed

John David’s dad came to visit this weekend and help with a project. Since rearranging the boys rooms, our former guest bed is now Paxton’s bed. Whenever we have guests, Paxton gets to sleep on a floor bed. He loves having guests not only because it’s exciting having family/friends in our home but also because he gets to sleep in his ‘little bed’. We typically place his bed in our bedroom floor, right beside the bookshelf which holds the majority of our children’s books, the little bookworm loves sleeping beside the bookshelf.

Not much work was done outside during the week, but once Friday arrived we got to work. Friday was beautiful and I was able to get outside and do some planting. (The rest of the weekend was chilly, so I stayed inside with Weston!)
Strawberry Plants
We purchased a few more strawberry plants and now the raised bed lining our sidewalk is full of strawberries.

Planting Onions

We also purchased some onion sets and got them in the ground. Since snapping this photo, the bed has been covered in a wood chip mulch/compost mixture, we recently watched the documentary Back to Eden and are applying some of the concepts shared in that film in our garden.

(The wooden dividers are in the bed to help us mark off the squares for our square foot gardening. I’m simply using them as a planting grid to keep things even!)

The big project of the weekend, and the reason Papaw came to visit, was building a chicken coop.

The men (including Paxton), started building on Friday morning and by Sunday afternoon were 90% finished. The coop was constructed using salvaged/reclaimed wood and materials (except for a box of new nails!)

Brothers in the Chicken Coop

The boys enjoyed playing in the new coop. I’m sure it will be a fun place space for them until our hens move in!Boreing MenOur new chicken coop and the 3 generations who built it together. (I plan to share more details on the materials/construction of the coop soon!)

And, my husband is one talented man, he designed this coop and then was able to build it.

That’s a glimpse into life last week!

Linked to: Homestead Barn Hop

We started our garden in mid-March, taking a bit of a risk because there was a potential for frost. It didn’t frost and we have a thriving garden in late April!

We’re enjoying watching the garden grow each and every day and are really loving that the raised beds are low maintenance.

We currently have four 3×3 beds and one 3×6 bed in our garden area.

We have planted (in these beds):

  • Corn
  • Tomatoes (Cherry, Beefsteak and Romas)
  • Strawberries
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Bell Pepper
  • Lettuce
  • Herbs

We’re almost ready to begin harvesting some of our lettuce and our corn is really growing (I’m looking forward to some sweet corn!)

Our larger raised bed was made out of reclaimed wood! There was a large pile of wood at the back of our property and my husband turned it into another raised bed. We have planted tomatoes, herbs and marigolds in this bed.

We turned an old sink (another back of the property find) into a mini garden for our 2-year-old. Ironically, the tomatoes in his garden look the best! 

In addition to these raised beds in the ‘garden area’, we also have a long square foot bed lining our front walk which contains tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, cucumbers, carrots, peas, lettuce and cilantro. Everything is growing really well in this bed and I really love how it look lining our walk!

Since squash and zucchini take up so much room, we planted ours along our fence and in a little bed on the side of our house. We already have 2 mini squash growing! I love squash and I’m so excited about eating our own squash (I’ve never raised squash or zucchini!)

We also have strawberries in the bed on the side of the house and our 3 plants from last year put on a lot of strawberries. Unfortunately, we only have been able to enjoy a few since the birds love them too. (We’re putting up netting next year so we can eat our strawberries!)

So far, I’m really enjoying the square foot gardening method in the raised beds. It really is so simple. We’ve had weeds but it has been manageable, I’ve spent just a few minutes every few days pulling weeds out of the beds (typically while holding a baby!) If you want to garden but don’t want to deal with the hassle of intense maintenance with tilling, weeding, hoeing and so on, raised beds are the way to go!

How’s your garden growing? Are you doing raised beds, container gardening or traditional gardening this year? 

Related Posts:

Beginning the Garden

Raised Garden Beds

Planning Our Garden

The weather has been wonderful in Georgia the past few days and we’ve been outside gardening.

We finally have filled up all of our raised beds. John David finished building the beds back in February, we purchased soil last weekend and got a load of manure last Tuesday.

Square Foot Garden Bed

We’re using these slats to mark a grid for planting. (John David made these from old wood found at the back of our property!)

Paxton’s own little garden! This old sink was behind our garage and we couldn’t resist using it as a planter. We filled it with soil and let Paxton plant a few things. The left side contains cherry tomatoes and the right has a green bean plant and peas. We doubt anything will be allowed to grow long enough to fruit, he’ll probably want to just dig around in his dirt!

Front Walk Planter

Another big project John David knocked out this week was tearing out the overgrown, weed filled monkey grass that lined our sidewalk. I just wanted it gone but he thought it’d be a good use of space to line the walk with a raised bed. This long bed has 16 square foot spaces. So far we’ve planted cilantro, onions, peas and cherry tomatoes here.

We want our landscape to be an edible landscape. Flowers and ornamental plants are beautiful and make your landscaping look nice but we think vegetable, herb and fruit plants are pretty too! And, the best part, all the work invested in maintaining those plants is rewarded with yummy food to eat!

Seedlings

On March 8th, I finally started seeds. This is what they looked like a little over a week later, on the 16th. (The only thing that didn’t germinate were the Bell Pepper seeds which didn’t come as a surprise since they didn’t germinate when I did my germination test a few weeks ago.)

All of the cherry tomatoes! These actually ‘failed’ the germination test too but I decided to see if they’d grow anyway! As you can see, I overloaded on seeds and they all grew!

Since it’s been so warm and the forecast says the weather should remain warm, we took some chances and put out some plants early. So far we have squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, pumpkin, green beans and cilantro planted. If the weather continues to cooperate and our plants thrive, we should enjoy an early harvest!

We also planted peas and onions which are cooler season vegetables. Of course, the warm weather may negatively effect them but hopefully not!

Backyard Chickens

We also let the girls out to roam and forage in the backyard for the first time this weekend! They really enjoyed being free and searching for bugs. They went back to their home right before the sun set!

I’d love to know how your garden is coming along!