I think I left off with the "great garden story" about here... needing a fence this summer after the raised beds and plants were put in. The fence was so much more work than Mike or I realized it would be. Saturday mornings in July and August became devoted to "the fence" (said with a sigh and a tired smile).
It was sooo hot this summer, by noon the heat was almost unbearable to work in, so we worked at it a little each week, and because it was just so much fun to paint hundreds of picket fence posts by hand, well, I wanted to stretch out the experience for as long as possible ha,ha :)
Mike made the nicest swinging door and the kids decided the stepping stones they made for him on Father's Day last year should go by the door. I thought so too :)
Things did not go well our garden for the first month. Too much chicken poop fertilizer is not a good thing, turns out. The plants struggled along. Raspberry and blueberry bushes bit the dust. Many cukes did not make it either. Marigolds were generally unhappy. Tomatoes folded their leaves and made pouty faces. I kept replanting. Mike felt so bad about overdoing the chicken poop fertilizer ; I told him it was all a part of the experiment and we would get it right by next year (I hoped).
In July we went on our vacation, and the garden exploded while we were gone. (I'm thinking about midnight one night there was a loud "boom"... no one ever figured out what it was, but it was "THE HENDERSON GARDEN"...!) Mike ran in from the backyard like an excited little boy, and said 'Did you see our garden?!" Apparently, the soil got itself right and zucchini were growing like, um, zucchini. Pumpkin vines were growing everywhere; and I wrapped vines around and around the beds all summer like old Victorian ladies wrapped braids around their heads before bed. Pumpkins are not meant for small raised-bed gardens. Lesson learned. Craziness.
It was so satifsying though to go out and pick what we had planted and then eat it for dinner; it was different from flower gardening; more practical, earthy, fulfilling somehow . I enjoyed this garden so much this summer; there's something so good about eating what grew by your own labor. It kinda made me want to turn the whole backyard into a suburban experiment in high-yield veggie gardening, but I won't. I'll bet we've picked six or seven bushels of produce so far: zucchini, squash, cukes, radishes, six kinds of tomatoes, and six types of peppers. We grew six spaghetti squash, and eight Cinderella pumpkins. I planted one leftover pumpkin plant at the end of the backyard; it's vines grew up into the trees and one day I found a couple small basket-ball sized pumpkin hanging from the trees, so we learned never to turn your back on those Cinderella pumpkins, they will climb all over the place :) The peppers and tomatoes are still going strong... I love that my hands smell like tomato leaves most evenings.)
I made red pepper jelly last week. It was awesome, even though my kids thought otherwise : ) I've made fresh salsa, and plan to make mint jelly... Mike said one morning in bed last week "you're really into this gardening thing, aren't you? I think you're a closet farm girl". I think so too. Who knew canning stuff was so dang cool?
From the other side with the gates open. I know some people hate vinyl fencing, I am not one of those people. I am glad there is one thing around here that doesn't need to be painted, ironed, fed, cleaned, folded,or dusted.
A lady gardener at one garden center told me that French marigolds kept the bugs away the best. She said to plant petunias along the corners and any bugs that the marigolds didn't ward off would just eat the petunias and leave the vegetables alone. She was right, we had no problems with bugs all summer. (Which makes me wonder why organic produce in the grocery store has to cost so much more...?)
That was just a total awesome bonus moment... : )
Did you grow anything this summer? We spent evenings sitting in our veggie garden, watching the starry velvet sky deepen and the crickets grow loud, half-glass of wine in hand... it was so nice... how do people survive in big city high-rise penthouses...?
I've noticed my blog turned very "green" this summer, and I've probably bored you with garden posts... I'm in the craft room again now that the kids are settled back in school, pretty glad to have a routine and time for creative work (I was ready for that). This week I'm working on finishing a gift line proposal for a company, so I can't do any crafty show and tells for a little longer. I wish I could cause I've jut made some caauute stuff...
I'm working on loading my Etsy this week too. Why do I think I'm going to get so much more done in the summer with kids home? I always think that... and I'm always wrong. But I enjoyed my kids and the summer bushels this year : )