gardening update

by Anne’s request-
here is what I’ve been doing in the yard…I’ve been planting various pots to set on the patio. The planters I covet the most? Anything old, metal, rusty or galvanized. The pot on the table is a gray enamelware dishpan. The bamboo is in a mop bucket and the petunias are enjoying a coal scuttle.

My latest favorite was this huge bucket that Anne and Brian found for me. When they gave it, I said I couldn’t pound holes into it for a planter, it was too nice and heavy. But then I brought home this red zonal geranium and knew they were perfect together, so…I re-did the front shade bed. It has dry soil, full shade AND the ancient maple tree above it steals all the nutrients-a plants nightmare. I put about 18″ of soil in the bed and planted more shade lovers-foam flower, columbine, hosta, goatsbeard. I put the moisture loving plants near the birdbath, so the spraying out and re-filling of it would benefit them the most.
Mint plants should always go in a container, it’s so invasive…I think it looks quite happy in this old wringer mop bucket. Besides, wouldn’t you rather have a cup of mint tea, than mop that filthy kitchen floor for the umpteenth time?!
Now, onto the Potager!
The asparagus is tall this year but since I keep such accurate, detailed records (meaning I snap a few photos when I think something is pretty and that is ALL) I can’t recall if the asparagus is 2 years old? or 3? Because you aren’t supposed to harvest until the 3rd year. And I really want to steam some spears and drizzle them in butter and feast until I’m sick but I don’t want to risk killing the crown, if it IS only 2 years old…so. no spears for me.
Maybe I’ve learned my lesson and will keep better records?! doubtful.

The chives are always healthy, happy, and reproducing. If anyone wants a chives plant, email me. Kids love to go out and cut it with scissors for dinner and they taste delicious on everything, but especially with butter and lemon on salmon filets. This post is making me hungry.


I love “Mrs. Bradshaw” Red Geums. They are a red flowering plant that is SO hardy. It blooms much longer than most perennials, almost as much as an annual! I divided one plant and got 8 from it, so I planted 2 on each end of raised veg beds. I always, always plant flowers with my produce. It attracts bees to pollinate (extra toms and cukes!) and is something pretty to enjoy while you weed the squash, or pick gooey slugs off the lettuce…
Marigolds aren’t my favorites, but I plant some in the veg garden, because bad bugs hate their smell too. I like “Lemon Gem” signet marigolds but haven’t planted any yet…they come up so fast from seed that it seems like robbery to me, how nurseries charge anything for them, at all…

My favorite father-in-law (so far) built this wonderful trellis for me on my birthday. I had clipped it out of a fancy-schmancy gardening catalog where they asked for $69-with a straight face-for 2 x4s and some plastic deer fence material. Basically you plant your cucumbers (or pole beans) on the trellis side, and they climb up and act as natural shade for the lettuce you plant underneath. Since lettuce doesn’t do well in the heat, and bolts to seed quickly, it is brilliant. I am excited to test this theory and hopefully we will still be eating home-grown lettuce in July and August!?
May brings daily growth to the garden. I love wandering the paths, seeing what is new and observe the delicate seeds popping up! This is Red Sails lettuce, Bright Lights swiss chard, Walla Walla sweet onions, carrots-purple and Nantes, and in the far end are bright, lipstick red lilies. They were too wanton of a color for the backyard flowerbed so I moved them up here to call in the bees and butterflies with their carmine crazy selves…
Potatoes are peeking through their straw bed-Yukon Gold and baby Reds. I will keep mounding straw up over their leaves. It’s a new way of growing them, for me. I am curious to see if we get more taters this way, or not. Potatoes are still like $3 for a 10 lb bag so it’s probably a silly waste of garden space to plant them-except! I try and plant what we actually eat (and we are of Irish blood, here) and a dry old store brand Russet? Blech! If I am going to waste carbs on a potato, I want sweet, delicate baby reds, no bigger than my thumb and baked with real Parmesan and those prolific chives. Again, I go, with the food talk…but hey, why garden if not for the far superior taste of everything? I think every foodie eventually becomes a gardener and every gardener, eventually becomes a foodie… See that basket? Every Spring, as I am junkin at the thrift shops, I watch for a flat basket to hang on my windmill. It keeps all my most-used trowels and weeders close at hand, and generally lasts about a year before the moisture rots it…a good $2, spent.
This is where I put my blue birthday bench. It is my FAVORITE spot, on the whole property, to sit. The strange trellis things next to it? Those are blue tomato cages, turned upside down, with a glass insulator holding the three legs together, for a simple obelisk. I have cardinal flower seeds (red, of course) planted in those pots and they should soon be covered and lovely.Here is the view from my bench. Caleb sits with me sometimes, and we can look at Peanut’s grave and reminisce together about what a great fish.
Although the boys don’t love the veggies. All the parenting articles that say “call Broccoli a little tree! Your “dinosaur” kids will just eat it up!” never saw our three little T Rex lovers gagging at the idea. They also suggest that if your picky eaters PLANT a food, they will naturally just love that food. Nope. At least not in my house! I have always had a garden, and I have always had my littles right there with their plastic watering can, helping. Popping cherry tomatoes in my mouth and saying “yum!” made them shudder. They do like some things-Caleb loves peas and cukes, Josiah loves sugar snap peas and lettuce, Sam will eat all the carrots and requested pickled beets this year (done.any request?! I am ON it) And I am really, really proud of just that small accomplishment, and count it proof of my never-ending quest to introduce healthy foods. The kids have a 50/50 chance, in their DNA. Their sweet Dad? Notoriously picky. As an adult, with my loving 20 year influence? John has branched out to: lettuce. mushrooms. onions. That’s all, please. He likes corn and potatoes and I don’t count those as veggies. So I plant lots of FRUIT.
(Caleb asked “Are there dessertatarians? I think I might be that.”) Yeah, Daddy too. “Honey, this peach is great but didn’t God mean for it to go in a cobbler?”
So…this photo above? all mine. It is red cabbage, broccoli, leeks and lettuce. The males in my home will nibble a few leaves of lettuce (covered in Hidden Valley, please) but the rest was planted for me, by me. No one else will be enjoying it, unless a veg-loving friend or family comes to visit, and starts dropping heavy compliments about my vast intelligence and stunning beauty. otherwise?! EVERY nutritious calorie in this bed will be absorbed by mwa. With butter.
Because I am Marathon training here, people.
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About sparrowjourney

Christian homeschooling mom to three boys, married to my best friend, John, for over 20 years. I love gardening without gloves, learning history with my kids, cooking with lots of butter, serving others, great books, rich coffee, studying the Bible, camping outdoors, scrapbooking, vintage home decor, the smell of rain and cut grass, authentic people, poetry, laughing until your sides hurt, and babies. oh and black licorice is pretty awesome.
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3 Responses to gardening update

  1. Susan says:

    Well, since I don’t dare plan a garden at this house, because my heart is set on moving in July (please Lord) I’m happy to volunteer to take whatever surplus you might have…;-) I do hope to get one pot and stick a tomato in it and if we move the pot goes with us. But that is a far as I will get with a garden this year, and even that is being hopeful.

  2. Brian says:

    Sheesh. I was feeling good about planting 4 tomato plants and a bean until I saw all this. I'm still half convinced that somehow I cannot grow anything, but I've been wathching the little bean plant slowly wind itself up & around the stakes and it's pretty cool.

  3. beautiful one says:

    i plant all my things in rusty old buckets and dishes too! look at us so far apart and a world of time between us and i am still the young grasshopper in the foot steps of my older sister! how great is that? 🙂

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