The Year’s Second Update in Pictures

Happy (almost) 4th of July! The month is just two days old and already we’re “enjoying” 100+ degree weather. Yeesh. The garden hasn’t been complaining as much as we have been, though. Aside from a little daytime wilting, everything outside seems to be doing a-ok. Eh, for the most part. Things are a little hit-or-miss depending on where you look. And it’s with that in mind that we offer our second garden tour of 2018. Let’s see just how everything’s doing out in the yard…

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The Year’s First Update in Pictures

With the garden now settled, it’s time to take our first gallery tour of how things look! It’s still early, and we did have some pretty drenching rain just the other day, so if things look a little washed out, it’s only because they are. We’ve got some sunny days ahead, so everything should bounce back nicely. Hopefully, anyway.

And with that, let’s start the tour! Continue reading

The year’s final post in pictures

Hello, and Happy Halloween!  Is it portentously spooky that our final (sniff) post of the year should fall on this particular holiday? Well…perhaps not. But the fact remains that, as we have done in the past and now do again, it’s time to shut down the blog for a few months while we focus on winter prep and subsequent hibernation (haha!). But, we can’t just leave without bidding a long goodbye. We’re going to take one final and poignant trip trip around the garden, because what a year it has been. On with the gallery!


Starting around front, the strawberries spread beautifully this year. Our goal is to eventually get them to cover the entire bed along the side of the house,

And this is primarily why. We’ve usually used this spot for tomatoes, but they always only do okay, never great. And this year was no exception. There’s simply not enough sun for them here. (True, there’s not really enough for strawberries either, but the ground cover will be nice.)

Moving over to the raised beds, they’ve all pretty much been taken over by marigolds. It’s really incredible just how large the plants turned out this year! Here in the cucumber bed, it’s just flowers now.

Yep. More marigolds. You’d never know that we got bunches of arugula and a number of carrots (ooo, they were delicious!) from this raised bed earlier in the year!

The bed that we had been using for peas just didn’t work out this year. Instead, we ended up with more marigolds and a couple of pepper plants that actually produced peppers. Imagine that!

The last raised bed is spilling over with marigolds. They simply cannot be contained! (Maybe we should try, but they look so pretty, all crazy and wild.) And somewhere in there are snapdragons and lots of strawflowers.

Speaking of flowers, the marigolds at the front of the section of bush beans in our longest bed are looking better than ever. In fact, they almost look  “planned” – like we actually tried to make them look artistic or something. Ha!

Next to them is the mass of pole beans. While it might not look like there are any beans at all, they are all hiding inside and at the back. It’s very likely that we’ll be getting beans well into next month.

Moving on, the tomatoes in the first stone bed are all looking rather done. There are still a couple plants with fruit on them — we’ll see if the ripen.
Meanwhile, the ONE massive Sun Sugar Hybrid plant is…well…it’s simply amazing in its tenacity.

And finally, the tomatoes way in the back are all pretty much done as well. There’s one fabled Jersey Giant plant here that still has tomatoes on it. It would be nice to see them ripen, for sure, but with the weather ups and downs, the prospect of that happening seems slim. We remain hopeful, anyway.

And that’s that! 🙂

2017 was a unusual year in the garden for us. But we managed. From getting a late start to experimenting with flowers to dealing with squash bugs to making more spaghetti sauce then two people might ever need, it was certainly a year to remember. It’s not lost on us that our supposed “first frost” day – November 5th – is supposed to be in the 60s and rainy. With that, there’s no way to predict just how much longer the garden will produce, how much longer the flowers will remain all nice and pretty, or when we’ll really start tearing things down for the winter…if winter ever comes! (It looks like the mild trend will likely continue until close to Thanksgiving.) Actually, as of this post, we’ve already taken apart all the net cages and managed to save at least one of the potted plants indoors. (Both the blueberry and blackberry plants, along with one of peppers, didn’t make it through this year.) So little by little well work out way towards clearing out the old and preparing to make way for the new.  We’ll restart things early next year, which seems both far away and all too close, already!

Our thanks go out to everyone who joined us this year, and we hope you’ll come back in few months when we renew and restart things in the garden. 2017 was fun, and 2018 is sure to bring new adventures!

The year’s third update in pictures

Despite the rough-ish start with the garden this year, things have turned out to be quite nice! Sure, there were some setbacks (ugh, squash bugs), but each problem brought with it a new learning experience.  Can’t complain about that! When we started things, we thought that we might make a real attempt at some fall gardening this year, but other projects have been calling us indoors. Even so, there’s still plenty going on outside (even if that’s mostly flowers), so let’s take another trip around the yard in pictures. (Pictures are in no particular order.)


It’s amazing how much the strawberries have spread. Just a couple years ago, they were just a couple plants in the patch to the far right in the picture. Now, they take up several feet of space. And each year, the berries get better and better!

After the squash bug outbreak, the only plant left in the second stone bed is this volunteer tomato, which turned out to be a Sun Sugar Hybrid cherry tomato plant. And yes, it’s just one plant. No joke!

In the first stone bed, the tomato plants have been doing alright. From it we got several nice red Rutgers tomatoes and lots of Chocolate Sprinkles cherry tomatoes. Now, there’s a Roma tomato plant that’s producing well. A few of the plants grew nicely, but then never produced anything. Behind the tomatoes are our fluffy, puffy asparagus plants.

Over on the side of the house, the tomatoes we put there have been a little sparse, but from them we’ve gotten some late harvests of Roma tomatoes and Chocolate Sprinkles cherry tomatoes.

In this raised bed, we had originally planted a bunch of different lettuces. Now, it’s home to marigolds, strawflowers, and snapdragons.

This raised bed was first home to peas, but the rabbits made short work of them back in May/June. Not long ago, it had a lovely Yellow Pear cherry tomato plant in it, but it withered. Now, it’s all about marigolds, yes, peppers!

Another raised bed taken over by marigolds, and in the top corner, Sweet Alyssum.

Even the cucumbers couldn’t escape the marigolds! If you look close enough, you might see the cherry tomato plant hiding on the left side of the bed.

The pole beans have gone gangbusters! As the always do, the plants have become a beautifully intertwined mass. And the beans, they are plentiful!

We haven’t said much about our volunteer ground cherries this year. While the plants came in, they haven’t been as prolific as in past years. If there have been any fruits, the squirrels have gotten to them. (Which is okay, because it keeps them away from the tomatoes!)

Believe it or now, there are beans hiding behind these marigolds! While the string beans are pretty much done, there’s a row of mini lima beans (Dixie Speckled Butterpeas) that have been doing nicely.

The tomato plants in the back are doing well to varying degrees. The plant on the right produced a few lovely purple Gypsy tomatoes. Beyond that, we have a couple cherry tomato plants, what we think is a Marmande plant, a Jersey Giant plants, a dud, and a Yellow Gooseberry plant.

Good on you if you scrolled all the way down here! 🙂 So here we are with a good month or so of gardening time left. Even though fall hit officially late last week, it’s been more like July around here than September. Hot and humid! But this trend has definitely pushed many tomatoes into ripening, and we hope there’ll be more to come before it’s all said and done.

The year’s second update in pictures

Hello, all! It’s time once again to take another picture trip around the garden. We’ve got a lot of images to get through, so let’s move onto the gallery (in no particular order), post haste!


Starting at the back of the yard, the tomatoes there are doing alright, even the ones that were in danger of being crushed by that branch. (There’s one plant that is doing poorly – back right. That barrel has drainage problems, which we’ve tried to address to no avail.)

From one of the tomato barrels. Looking promising! By the way, this looks to be our year for cherry tomatoes – they are doing really well all around!

Also around back, we found a lone basil plant just doing its thing. Being basil.

Moving over the squash bed, things aren’t looking so hot. Our attempt at ridding the bed of squash bugs worked a little but not enough. There aren’t as many squash bugs as there were, but the survivors are still wrecking havoc. It’s a process.

Despite the squash bugs, we still have squash, like this gorgeous yellow zucchini that will be picked as soon as the end of its green stem turns yellow. There also another green squash peeking out on the left.

And here’s a baby zucchini that just might make it…we hope!

This is the volunteer tomato living in the squash bed. We thought it was a Yellow Gooseberry or Sunpeach Hybrid, but no, it’s actually a Sun Sugar Hybrid. (We can tell in that the tomatoes are turning orange rather than straight yellow or red.) These are super sweet and tasty – really good in salads.

In the other stone bed, our tomatoes are coming along…slowly. Which is a little surprising considering how warm it’s been lately. By the way, the frilly stuff is asparagus.

 

These are supposed to be 42-day tomatoes, according to their name. They’ve taken that long and then some just to get to this stage!

More cherry tomatoes. So many cherry tomatoes!

At the end of the tomato bed, we have a bushel of ground cherries. We didn’t plant a single seed – they came back on their own…much to the delight of the squirrels…unfortunately.

A grand shot of all (or most of) our beans.

After mulching with dry grass, the bush beans are loving life. We’re still harvesting them every week, and more are back on the way.

Meanwhile, the pole beans are doing great. (All this helps make up for the poor, poor squash.)

Over in the raised beds, the cucumbers in the first one are a mixed bag. Some of the plants couldn’t be happier, while others are just okay. After taking this picture, we picked three more cukes to add to the stash, so they can’t be doing that bad!

You can barely see raised bed #2 thanks to the Nema-Gone marigold that simply went wild! Seriously, that giant bush on the left is a marigold. We plan to replant some greens in the bed soon, so it’s possible that the marigold might have to transplanted.

Raised bed #3 used to have peas in it, but the rabbits quickly changed our plans. Instead, now there’s marigolds, tomatoes, and peppers. At least something is growing!

The fourth and final raised bed is all about flowers right now. As with the second raised bed, we hope to replant some greens/lettuces here in the coming weeks.

On the side of the house, we have more tomatoes, and they are actually coming along pretty well. Late though, as with everything else.
We’ll end here with a couple of our potted plants – that’s a blackberry on the right and an orange bell pepper on the left. We’re actually getting blackberries! They’re sour, yes, but we’re glad that the plant is doing okay. And we’ll be harvesting these little peppers just as soon as they turn bright orange.

Well, how that’s for a grand garden gallery! And after looking at all these pictures, we’re off to do a little weeding now, as it seems like it’s about time for a little maintenance. 🙂

The year’s first update in pictures

As promised last week, it’s time for our first visual round-up of the garden. Not much more to say beyond that, so we’ll let the pictures do the talking!


Starting round back, only a handful of the tomatoes we planted in our back barrels are doing alright. We also planted pepper seedlings back here, but only one barrel of them survived, and they aren’t looking so hot. We’re really going to have to figure out how to get peppers again next year.

Moving around to the side, the various bush beans that we planted are doing okay. Rabbits got into a couple of the rows, so they have fewer plants. But it still looks like we’ll get a good number of beans, at least.

Cucumbers, anyone? The ones that are doing best are the volunteers – we found four a couple weeks ago. But the seeded ones are also starting to look very promising. We also stuck a couple tomato plants and a pepper plant in the middle – one of the tomatoes might need to be transplanted soon.

Thanks to the rabbits, the lettuce bed looks pretty sad, save for the flowers and herbs around the edges. (What they don’t know is that not only do we have lettuce planted elsewhere, including inside, but that we plan to reseed this bed in the late summer. HA! Take that you silly rabbits!)

Meanwhile, the other greens bed is look very nice, save for the poor romanesco (you can barely see the remaining stalks in the bottom right square of the bed), and endive (top left). The arugula in the other two squares is doing handsomely (it’s soooo delicious!), as are a number of the crops and flowers around the edges.

This is the lettuce/greens stash we have hiding away in our small hanging bed. No rabbits can get in here! And the squirrels ignore it, too.

The rabbits got into the peas early on, but they are starting to make something of a comeback. Unfortunately it’s a bit too warm for peas right now, but we’ll see if anything comes of the plants that are trying to make it. The extra marigolds along the front edge here seem to enjoy the bed, at least. And there’s extra tomato and peppers plants in here too.

Between the two stone beds, we have our two overwintered peppers (a new seedling went into the green pot top left this year, it’s slowly but surely doing well), a blackberry plant (bottom left) and a blueberry plant (bottom right) that we thought for sure was dead. Lo and behold, a new shoot appeared earlier in the year!

Back over to the beans, the pole beans are in various states. The black beans, which of off to the far right, seem to be doing the best at this point, but the rest are coming along.

Well isn’t this just a confusing picture of our radishes? Ground cherry plants have appeared in the far barrel. The close one contains only radishes. Well…radish greens, mostly. We’re letting them go to seed.

Over on the side of the house, the strawberries have really taken over (and that’s exactly what we want them to do!), and there’s a single tomato in this small pot that’s doing fairly well.

Continuing on the side of the house are a few more stray tomato plants. If these produce, it’ll likely happen later in the season. They don’t get much sun here, so they tend to grow a little slower. Our hope is that the strawberries that are growing off to the right will eventually take over this entire space.

The squash bed looks just about right, and the plants will soon start producing lots of large, beautiful flowers.

This is the volunteer squash on the end of the bed – it’s advanced quite a bit more than everything else. We’re still not sure what variety this is. The leaves and placement (based on last year) suggest an acorn squash, but odds are also good that it’s also either a Long Pie pumpkin or a traditional green zucchini.

And this is our single volunteer tomato, also in the squash bed. Whatever type it is, it’s a cherry variety for sure, as small fruits have already started appearing.

In contrast, our tomato bed is still looking rather sparse. The plants are actually coming along well, but they aren’t nearly as large as the volunteer tomato. But with the warm autumns that we’ve been having over the past couple years, we’re pretty sure that we’ll still get tomatoes from these plants later in the year.

Back with the strawberries over on the other side of the house. Oh how they’ve spread over the past three years! It’s amazing!

Moving to the front of the yard, this is the the first of our two flower beds. A volunteer red poppy appeared hear a number of weeks ago. It’s now fading, but it sure did produce a lot of blooms.

The second flower bed contains only one flower…

…and it’s a very pretty one. 🙂

That’ll do it for our garden gallery, for now. With July on the way, it’s now time for weeding,  watering, watching, and waiting!

The year’s final update in pictures

Greetings, all! This is our penultimate post of 2016, and as such, it’s time to take one final look around the backyard to see what’s become of the garden over the past month. In some ways, things looks like they should at this time of year — somewhat withered and dry — while other things look like they’re ready for the summer sun. Let’s start scrolling through the gallery to see what’s what!


Starting way out back, the tomato plants are actually still pretty healthy, with some exceptions. And the pepper plants look like they should have in August!
Starting way out back, the tomato plants are actually still pretty healthy, with some exceptions. And the pepper plants look like they should have in August!

After a recent bout of warm weather, a couple of our tomatoes actually ripened! But most remain green, still.
After a recent bout of warm weather, a couple of our tomatoes actually ripened! But most remain green, still. And this plant, in particular, has started blooming again. Too bad we’re in for another frost warning tonight. :\

We just picked a decent green bell pepper off one of these plants, but we don;t recall planting and green bell peppers. Hmmm...
We just picked a decent green bell pepper off one of these plants, but we don’t recall planting any green bell peppers. Hmmm…

Moving around to the center of the yard, the stone bed that held all the squash is looking quite done for the year...
Moving around to the center of the yard, the stone bed that held all the squash is looking quite done for the year…

...maybe. Looks like there's still on plant that's holding on!
…maybe. Looks like there’s still one plant that’s holding on!

Also, despite the way the squash plants look, all these were just hanging out in the yard. We can't even.
Also, despite the way the squash plants look, all these were just hanging out in the yard. Seriously, we can’t even.

Meanwhile, everything in the other stone bed is slowly turning. There still a small outcropping of asparagus that seems to like the cooler temps. And there seems to be no stopping the patch of marigolds that took hold on the far end.
Meanwhile, everything in the other stone bed is slowly turning. There’s still a small outcropping of asparagus that seems to like the cooler temps. And there’s no stopping the patch of marigolds that took hold on the far end.

These are those marigolds, by the way.
These are those marigolds, by the way.

They are a mix of French Dwarf marigolds round the bottom and these tall, lovely Harlequin marigolds. Initally, there was a tomato plant here, hence the cage, but these flowers seem to appreciate the extra support.
They are a mix of French Dwarf marigolds round the bottom and these tall, lovely Harlequin marigolds. Initially, there was a tomato plant here, hence the cage, but these flowers seem to appreciate the extra support.

Speaking of flowers, there's a single yellow marigold plant, Crackerjack (we think), that's claimed a place on the end of the other stone bed.
Speaking of flowers, there’s a single yellow marigold plant, Crackerjack (we think), that’s claimed a place on the end of the other stone bed.

Onward, we can't not talk about the bean plants. They are still going pretty strong, and couple of the plants have even started to flowers again! (Sporadically, that is.)
Onward, we can’t not talk about the bean plants. They are still going pretty strong, and couple of the plants have even started to flower again! (Sporadically, that is.)

And we're still picking beans every weekend.
And we’re still picking beans just about every weekend.

Looks like we'll be in for another nice harvest of Christmas Lima beans. Yum!
Looks like we’ll be in for another nice harvest of Christmas Lima beans. Yum!

All is quiet in the cucumber raised bed. We broke up a couple rotted cukes and scattered the seeds. We'll see if any of them take next year.
All is quiet in the cucumber raised bed. We broke up a couple rotted cukes and scattered the seeds. We’ll see if any of them take next year.

Meanwhile, all is not quiet in the greens raised bed! We've aactully got an unintended second showing of cabbage and arugula. (Though the few stray rabbits and squirrel still roaming like the cabbage plants.)
Meanwhile, all is not quiet in the greens raised bed, where we’ve  got an unintended second showing of arugula. (No complaints!)

And the same goes for the lettuce bed. A bunch of new seedlings have popped up, and we've been taking leaves here and there from the spinach plant that just won't quit.
And the same goes for the lettuce bed. A bunch of new seedlings have popped up, and we’ve been taking leaves here and there from the leaf lettuce plant (bottom left) that just won’t quit!

On the side of the house, the okra plants are done for the year. We just recently seeded all the dried pods, and we came away with a good harvest. (all the pods are safely in the freezer now.)
On the side of the house, the okra plants are done for the year. We just recently seeded all the dried pods, and we came away with a good harvest. (All the good pods are safely in the freezer now.)

Elsewhere here, there's not much to speak of.
Elsewhere here, there’s not much to speak of.

Aaaaand, the strawberries. They could seem to care less about the weather!
Aaaaand, the strawberries. They could seem to care less about the weather!

That’s going to do it for this final garden roundup — thanks for scrolling all the way through! Next week marks our last post of the season, so we’ll be back then with some final thoughts. Till, then, cheers! 🙂