Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Imagine me a gardener!

I was so excited to start a garden this year. Once spring came I went to Home Depot and Lowes and bought all sorts of stuff to make raised-beds gardens. I mixed up my soil, but then found that the measurements were off, so I didn't have enough soil to fill my 3 boxes. So I was able to only fill one box then. Two weeks later I bought more soil mix and filled the other 2. So now I'll have a harvest 2 weeks apart, which is good. So things started growing, and I was so excited, and then last week, we got a huge storm. It had been raining off and on for days, and I was worried my plants weren't getting enough sunlight. But then we got hail and I had something else to worry about! During the big storm Jason and Buttons and I had gone to the library and it started hailing while I was inside. Buttons got scared and Jason had to carry her home. By the time we got home the rain was already slowing down, but it had hailed for about 10 min, and the hail was pea-sized. Several of my plants didn't fair so well, but they seem to be recovering all right.

Here's the beginning of my gardens. I had to drill and screw and glue and Jason and I had to wrestle with the wood (since it was cheap, it wasn't completely straight). Once we got the boxes done, I had to do the same thing for frames for wire cages to go over the boxes. Then I took chicken wire and cut it and stapled it to the frame. Finally I took zip ties to attach the sides to the cages.

Here's the 2nd box I filled. I have to cut the zip ties short still, but at least the cage is up. We have so many birds and squirrels and chipmunks and even bunnies, that I had to do something to keep them out. Around the base I find holes every day where a chipmunk has tried to burrow under (luckily I put weed cloth on the bottoms, so hopefully they can't get through to chew the roots) and birds sit on the cage looking like they're trying to figure out a way in.

Here are my 3 garden boxes. There used to be flowers and a small tree and lots of greenery back here, but it was very unorganized and since there were flower beds elsewhere in the yard, we borrowed a tiller and tilled this whole section up. Then we went through and dug up roots and bulbs (I ended up with a big trash can full) and finally had a good expanse of just dirt.

These are carrots and a zucchini plant. Since the boxes aren't very deep, the carrots won't get too long, but whatcha gonna do?

The peas I planted are apparently of the climbing variety. I put shish-ka-bob skewers in amongst them to grab a hold of, but they've been causing me great stress since they can grow up to 2 1/2 feet tall, and the cages are only 18 and 24 in tall. I've finally decided to transplant them all to the 3rd box that doesn't have a cage on it. I've been worried about the animals getting them, but I don't know what else to do. I'm going to plant them all along the back of the box and lace bird netting around bamboo stakes so that they'll have something to crawl up.

I just put in the bamboo tonight, and I decided to plant some marigolds along the sides. Supposedly, marigolds keep animals like bunnies away. I don't know if it's the smell or what, but as long as they work, I don't care! Plus, they make the whole thing look purdy!

These are my rhubarb plant and my raspberry sticks - I mean bushes. The rhubarb is doing pretty well, but the raspberry bushes have yet to make a move. Right now they just look like sticks stuck in the dirt. I bought one and our home teacher gave us the other one. The one I bought said it was guaranteed to grow, so if it doesn't, back to the store it goes!

This is the first box I planted. There were a couple of spots that nothing came up in (not sure why) so I planted potatoes in them tonight. I have peas, beets, green beans, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, zucchini, corn, carrots, potatoes, and soon, green peppers and tomatoes. I started growing the last two inside, and they should be ready to go outside in a couple more weeks. Hopefully they'll have a long enough growing season. Next year I'm either going to start them earlier or just buy seedlings.

And here's my first harvest! I'm so excited! I've been able to see the red tops of the radishes for a few days now, and today I pulled the 2 out that looked the most ready. I can't believe I actually grew some food! Jason wasn't as excited as I was, but that's ok. I'm thrilled enough for the both of us!

In other news, we've been doing things around the rest of the yard too.

I put down Patchmaster in several dead or bare patches of lawn to get new grass. Since it's been raining so much I haven't had to water hardly at all, and we're starting to get new lawn. In the pic, the blue-ish stuff is the Patchmaster. All the green in it is the new grass. Some stupid squirrels or chipmunks have been digging in a lot of the spots and they're really irking me. They're ripping up the new lawn, and I'm about ready to get a bb gun. Until I had a yard to work in I thought they were cute. But now I'm seeing them for what they really are - juvenile delinky-dewinks. But despite their best efforts, the grass is growing.
Jason fixed this so it looks pretty. Before, the cinder-blocks were uneven, and there were plants growing everywhere. But he evened them up, weeded and cut down all unnecessary foliage and added more white rocks than there had been to the blocks. It looks so much better! Of course, the hail didn't do these plants any good either, but they're still growing, so no lasting harm done. There are tulips that come up here in the spring, but after awhile they die, so Jason cut them down. They'll come up again next year.
And finally, this is our only flower garden with flowers right now. We had no idea what they looked like when they started coming up, but I think it's gorgeous. The orange ones are tiger- lillies I think, but I don't know what the others are. This garden is on the side of our shed. We're going to fix the wall around it so it is more even one of these days, but it doesn't look too bad as it is.
Wow this is a long post!

Six Flags

Jason and I went to Six Flags in Agawam, MA last month with the Young Single Adults from the Albany branch that we used to go to. It was so much fun! They redid the Superman ride so the first drop is longer and there are more special effects. I kept forgeting to take pictures, but I did manage to get a few. We went to the waterpark with our friends Steve and Janice (who are also married, but like us, used to go to the Albany branch), and it was cold but fun. The water hadn't warmed up yet.

Here are Steve and Janice getting snow cones. We got "fried dough" (scones) with powdered sugar. Soooo good.

Here's Jason on the balloon ride right before he threw up. That's right, he was fine on all the roller coasters, but the balloons that just lifted off the ground and went around in a big circle, made him up-chuck. To be fair, I felt like throwing up. Two rides before we had gone on an old wooden roller coaster. We got off in so much pain, that I vowed never to ride that one again. It's so jerky, and incredibly squeaky, my head hurt after, as did most of my joints. Jason thinks that was the beginning of his downfall. Once the balloon ride stopped I was waiting for Jason to undo his safety belt and get out, but he just leaned over the side and hurled. The operator was starting to come over, but I didn't want him to step in it, so I told him we were having a slight problem. He asked if we needed the first aid people, but Jason said he felt much better and we just hopped out and walked away. (Jason did apologize to the guy several times. He felt bad.) But he didn't want to go on any rides. Luckily it was the end of the day.