{ Garden }

~~  A photo journal of my ever changing vegetable/flower garden ~~

A winged beauty

2013 ~ We are now in year 6 (!) of our veggie/flower garden.  The garden has come a long way from the little 'Postage Stamp' veggie garden in 2008.  Back then it was just a bit of earth, cut from the lawn behind our garage.  It was one bed, about 3x10, made for growing veggies/herbs/some flowers & a bunch of containers for tomatoes & other goodies.  It was also a place to introduce a very young J to the joys of gardening.  That is how I learned to garden & I wanted my son to have the same experience.  He was 3 when we moved here & he helped me prep the garden with his little 'garden tools'.  He really enjoyed digging in the dirt ~ of course he did, he is all boy! (see all the early photos at the bottom of this post :)

Over the years the garden has blossomed into a little bit bigger veggie garden and for a few years it was a  ~ French Kitchen Potager Garden.   Last year & this year we are focusing more on flowers.  J is more into science than veggies & he wants to attract butterflies.  So, this year we are once again going for is a Butterfly/Veggie Garden Cool!  We will still have tomatoes, strawberries, herbs & lettuces ~ just the basics for us this year.  We are lucky that a local church down the street grows a community garden that anyone can pick from.  Few people take advantage of their generosity, but we do!  J loves to search their garden since it is so much bigger than ours.  He really enjoys running around the corn field.  So, even with the change in 'crops', we will still be getting lots of 'homegrown' veggies for the kitchen.

The 2012 Community Garden ~ provided by the generosity of a local church

I will post the latest pictures of the garden at the top of the page & then work my way back through the last six years to the very beginning.  It's still amazing to me, when I see how far our little veggie garden has come!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *  ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
 We're now at the end of the 2013 Growing Season ~ see you next year 

Late Autumn/Early Winter 2013 ~ The snow is now beginning to fly and winter is almost here.  The garden has finally gone to sleep and most of the leaves on the trees are gone.  To be honest,  I really didn't do much outside in the garden this 2013 growing season.  For some reason, this year I wasn't feeling the 'gardener vibe' as the season progressed.  I'm chalking it up to my ever changing interests and to my son growing up and changing his interests, too.  He has found other activities to replace gardening, so we are now going farther afield (pun intended) to do fun things in the summer.  So, I let my garden (& myself) have a fallow season this year ~ sometimes you just have to let nature take its course.  Next year I'll see how I'm feeling about digging in the dirt, and in what direction I want my garden to grow.  Maybe it will be full of flowers, or maybe veggies, or maybe it will even be low maintenance ~ ya just never know with me!  I'll just have to wait and see what spring brings for 2014...   :)

Visiting the local Community Garden, 2013 ~ This has to be the best way to go shopping for your veggies!

Late Summer 2013 ~ Even thought I didn't plant a veggie garden this year, I was still able to pick fresh veggies, courtesy of the local Community Garden.  I would ride my bike over to the garden and search for goodies for our lunch & dinner.

Fall 2013 ~ views from around my house  ~  Looking out my kitchen window, or from my front porch, is so pretty at this time of year...

November 2013 ~ Stormy Weather ~ we were at the edge of the super storm that spawned a huge amount of tornadoes all across the Midwest.   All the neighbors gathered as the sirens were sounding the alarm.  Luckily for us, there was only some minor wind damage in our town, the tornadoes passed us by.  But there were multiple confirmed touchdowns a few towns over...

Summer 2013 ~ We've got some HUGE praying mantis in our yard.  This year we had a few who decided they liked hanging around our front porch.  They would watch us...as we did the same to them.

Summer 2013 ~ Our neighbor's, Bill & Cheryl, have a wonderful flower & veggie garden in their backyard.  The flowers against their barn red shed are so pretty to look at, it's such a nice view to see when I look out my kitchen window. We're so lucky that they share the bounty of their garden with us.  If I'm ever in need of something, I can just pop on over (or just reach over the fence!) & take what I need.  Thank you both, so very much!!!!

Summer 2013 ~ 6th year ~ The tomato volunteers from this year, I didn't buy any, these are what popped up from the dropped fruit from last season.  I never watered them, they just thrived (sorta) on neglect.  Even with no help from me, the yellow heirloom tomatoes still produced a ton of fruit.  I'm so impressed that heirloom tomatoes will grow despite receiving no care, whatsoever.   The hardy Black-Eyed Susans & the perennial herbs also took care of themselves.  Cheryl was kind enough to start a pot of  basil for me ~ many thanks! 

Summer 2013

Early June 2013 ~ 6th year ~ some pretty peonies...

Early June 2013 ~ 6th year ~ Due to 2012's extreme heat/drought and the current 2013 lingering cold 'winter-ish' spring weather, my strawberry plants have really taken a beating.  We'll have a very small strawberry harvest this season ~ but, at least they're still sweet and delicious!

Spring 2013 has finally sprung!  It has been really late in arriving, Punxsutawney Phil was waaaay off his game this year!  Here is what we've started to clean-up/do in the garden...

Early May 2013 ~ 6th year ~ J planted seeds everywhere!  It will be interesting to see what pops up.

We found dinosaurs lurking under all the winter garden debris. They are now free to roam about J's plot in the garden...

Early May 2013 ~ 6th year ~ Some volunteers sprouted up in our pots, holdovers from last year's gardening.  This time last year, we had an abundance of red strawberries that were almost ready to pick. (see pictures below) This late spring will throw their schedule back weeks & weeks...

2012 Growing Season
photos listed end of season - beginning of season

The 2012 season is now over.  The last of the veggies have been pulled up & the garden is getting ready to sleep for the winter.  See you again in 2013!

Winter 2012 ~ Backyard under a blanket of white...

Early November 2012 ~ 5th year ~ I found this little beauty as I was cleaning out the garden.  With all the extreme heat/drought, then cool weather this summer, the plants are all out of sorts.  There are about a half a dozen strawberries growing right now.  A final gift from the garden!

Late October 2012 ~ 5th year ~ A last flush of roses...

RoseMarie enjoying a bit of late afternoon autumn sun...
October 2012 ~ 5th year ~ The tomatoes are just about done...

2012 Growing Season, Mid August ~ this drought & record heat has really taken it's toll on the garden. We've been getting a little rain, but not near enough. Some of the hardier flowers are bouncing back, but the veggies are struggling...

Mid August 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ These are the knockout roses, black-eyed Susan's & lambs ear that I transplanted into this bed this spring.  It was touch & go for awhile, but they have finally started to grow. I'm happy that I didn't loose them.

Mid August 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ Knockout Roses are worth the extra $, they are hardy & have proven to be a survivor.  Just what we need in the garden this year!

RoseMarie ~ My little hunter...

Mid August 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ These are the volunteer heirloom yellow pear mini tomatoes that are making their appearance for the third year.  The bush is A LOT smaller than in years past, but it is still producing a few tomatoes every couple of days.  Self seeding can be a good thing.  :)
Mid-July 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ My volunteer cherry tomatoes, Sweet 100, are doing well.  Since they chose where to grow, they seem to be doing better than the tomatoes that I planted, the heat just doesn't seem to bother them & they are sooo sweet.  They are living up to their name! 

Early July 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ My neighbors taught me how to make hollyhock dolls.  They are so cool. (the dolls & my neighbors! :)
Early July 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ The Queen of the Hollyhocks
Early July 2012~ 5th Year ~ Our neighbors, Bill & Cheryl, gave us a few of the 'first of the season tomatoes' from one of their plants. (big ones on the left)  Ours won't be ready until August.   The little ones in the front are the first of our Sweet 100 Cherry toms.

Early July 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ Herbal Tussie Mussie.  I'm harvesting what I can since this hot weather in making everything bolt.   I think these little bundles of herbs are so pretty & they smell so good.

Early July 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ Harvesting lavender & lemon balm for sachets.

Late June 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ Growing tomatoes in a bag of soil.  Just cut an 'x' in the top, poke holes in the bottom of bag & bury the plant in the middle.  Water as usual & they'll grow like crazy. No fuss gardening. I like it like that!  The hot weather doesn't seem to bother them at all.

Late June 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes ~ The only thing in the garden loving the hot weather is the tomatoes & they are coming along nicely.  This is a volunteer plant from last year.  I love it when they reseed themselves!

Late June 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ a small harvest of fresh picked peas, from the pot of peas in the garden...

Late June 2012 ~ 5th year ~ We're trying to grow peas in a pot, but with this 100*+ weather we have been having, (with no end in sight) it's just making the plants go to seed.  It will be a skimpy harvest this year.  Good thing we don't have to rely on what we plant, like they did in years gone by...it would be a very hungry winter if we did, I'll tell you that!

June 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ The lavender is doing really well, surprising since I transplanted it to a new location this spring.  I just love the way it smells.

June 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ a pretty lily

June 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ the garden nymph watching over the garden...

Late May 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ The strawberries have been coming fast & furious.  I just picked 6 pounds of berries & made some homemade jam.  Overall I've picked 12+ pounds this season, with more on the way...

Mid-May 2012 ~ 5th Year ~ The strawberries are weeks ahead of schedule.

Spring 2012 ~ 5th year ~ The pots, waking up. A lot of what is growing are volunteers, seeds/bulbs that didn't sprout last year. Isn't nature wonderful? ;)

Spring 2012 ~ 5th year ~ Now the strawberries are on the right & the herbs are on the left. Tomatoes will now be on the side of the house, growing in bags. J's side garden has been planted with lavender & other flowers.  Roses, black-eyed Susan's & lambs ears in the front bed. Less veggies, more flowers ~ the French Potager Kitchen Garden  is morphing into a Butterfly Garden.  J wants to 'study' the winged beauties, I think he just wants to chase them around the garden.  Same thing, right?  :)

2011 Growing Season

photos listed beginning of the season - the end of the season

May 2011 ~ 4th Year ~ The new strawberry bed to the left. On the right: J's garden and all the lettuce/spinach/dandelion /chard/herb/ potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes in the pots. Tomatoes planted in bags (on the other side of the pots) are also to the right.
Summer 2011 ~ 4th Year ~ Some pretty flowers
August 2011 ~ 4th Year ~ You never know what you will find when you take a peek under the leaves.

End of August 2011 ~ 4th Year ~ The beans & morning glories on the left are out of control! :) They are climbing everywhere.

End of August 2011 ~  4th Year ~ I've decided the only way to grow potatoes is in a couple of big pots. It is so much easier to find them when they are corralled. I get about the same yield if I plant them in a pot or in the dirt.  That is about 5 pounds.  I make Hot German Potato Salad with all the little ones. It is divine!

End of August 2011 ~ 4th Year ~ Tomatoes & flowers playing nicely together.

2010 Growing Season
 photos listed beginning of the season - to the end

Spring 2010 - 3rd year - Welcome to my new FRENCH POTAGER KITCHEN GARDEN. What makes it a French Potager you ask? You plant flowers in w/the veggies/herbs so it looks pretty as well as giving you food to eat. It is also a year round garden, so you keep planting seeds when something is done producing. Winter will be the toughest challenge! ~ I have created a second bed (where the hay bales were years 1 & 2)  I have planted it w/wildflowers as well as w/broccoli, peas, watermelon, lettuce, edible flowers & garlic.  

June 2010 - 3rd Year ~ Such a compact but prolific garden space. Tomatoes in the background, growing like crazy!

Early July 2010 - 3rd Year ~ Gotta keep the tender greens up and away from the local rabbits. They will only last a few more weeks before bolting for the summer. I will need to start more seeds again, in late August, for a fall harvest.

July 2010 - 3rd Year ~ That new middle bed (from Spring 2010) is now growing like crazy, filled with broccoli, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, edible flowers, herbs and wild flowers. The tall sunflowers in the middle will get to 12+ feet. Tomatoes & strawberry bed are on the far right. Grasses, to the far left, are doing well too.

Summer 2010 ~ As long as you are watering the garden, might as well play in the sprinklers...

July 2010 - 3rd Year ~ The hummingbirds and butterflies are loving all the flowers. The cats favorite place to take a nap is under all the leaves.

August 2010 - 3rd Year ~ Oven drying the bumper crop of Roma tomatoes. There are more on the way. It will soon be time to replant the lettuce and spinach for a fall crop.

Late Fall 2010 - 3rd year - These are the tomatoes that I planted directly into the bags of soil. I want to make this area another bed, so this is the easy way to kill the grass. Will just have to till the soil next year for a new bed. YEAH! This heirloom mini pear tomato just kept producing. Same with the Roma's. We got sick of them, there were just sooo many. Amazing what one little plant, planted in a bag of soil, can grow into. I felt like Audrey, from Little Shop of Horrors, must have sent her tomato cousins to live in our garden! ;)

2009 Growing Season

photos listed beginning of the season - to the end of the season

Spring 2009 - 2nd year- J helping Mommy in their garden. The tomatoes will quickly be taller than he is.

Summer 2009 - 2nd year - Meet the rest of the tomato family (6 in all) - big reds & yellow. Their friends chard, strawberry, zuch, squash, onion, pepper, lettuce, radish, beets, cuc's & herbs are over for the growing party too. The planted garden is only about 10'x2 1/2' & some pots. It gives a really good yield for such a small space. ; )
Summer 2009 - 2nd year - Some of the veggies we picked right before our trip. Most of the toms will ripen while we are gone. I hope the neighbors are enjoying them!

Fall 2009 - 2nd year - Morning Glories in the garden

2008 Growing Season

photos listed beginning of the season - to the end of the season

Spring 2008 - 1st year - Where to begin? I decided to put the veggie garden close to the kitchen back door. Had to remove grass to start the garden. Just a small veggie/herb bed & some pots to have a bit of fun w/J.  Hopefully I'll get him excited about gardening. Hay bales helped to define the area, will be made into planters & also help to keep the neighbors dogs out.

Spring 2008 - 1st year - J helping Mommy get the bed ready to plant.
Summer 2008 - 1st year - Once it started to stay warm at night things really started growing! We got tons of broccoli out of those 9 little plants. They even make a nice bouquet of yellow flowers if you forget to pick them in time...

 2008 - 1st year - Let's hear it for Farmer J!

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