Hard Work

So over the weekend my mom took Jack with her after his Little Kickers soccer camp thing. (It’s not like real soccer, it’s like a bunch of 18-24 months olds running around together and there are also soccer balls). Nate and I then went home and started The Yard Project. He dug holes, I inserted, fertilized and watered plants (while wearing gloves). He shoveled 2 yards of mulch into the wheelbarrow countless times, I spread the mulch out with a rake. I would say I definitely got the good end of that deal.

All done

When all was said and done we planted 6 new plants, moved one plant, and had enough mulch leftover that we went ahead and mulched over the pine bark in our front beds. I put down a ton of weed barrier so hopefully that will help us out in the future. Over all I think it turned out pretty well.

I think I finally know the names of all of the plants in my back yard. I’m so proud of me! And we’re growing Lady Banks Roses up the side of that mini-pergola thing there so help block the view of the neighbors’ back yards. When that fills in I bet it will be amazing!

Also, I’d like to introduce you all to my new friend, Bird.

Hi, bird!

While I was shoveling the mulch around in the back, Bird was hopping around watching. He actually let me get pretty close to him. I was starting to worry that he was injured and we would have to make a trip to the bird sanctuary place, but turns out he was just eating the berries off my beautyberry bush and he wanted them badly enough not to mind that I was there raking mulch in the area at the time. I got that plant specifically because I wanted it to attract birds and I was excited to offer them a treat, but 3 years later this is the first time I’ve actually seen anyone eat off it!

So it took us umm.. around 4hours total I think? Not bad! It looks SO MUCH BETTER it was definitely worth it.

Yardwork Wrapup

So once upon a time I enjoyed doing  yard work. I actually would sit outside when it was nice and scoot around the yard pulling weeds. I was obsessed and the weather was nice so it seemed like a good combination. There were semi-frequent trips to the farmer’s market with new plants, new pine straw, new pine bark, new flower beds and it was actually kind of awesome.

Then I had a baby and suddenly there wasn’t time for yard work. Not that I minded or anything, but we were not totally finished with everything we wanted to have done and what with number two rapidly approaching (how did it get to be the end of September already?!) we figured what with the spring due date, it was now or never for getting this crap done.

So here’s our to-do list:

  • Plant 6 new plants
  • Move between 1-3 existing plants (I haven’t decided on the final count yet)
  • Mulch the back yard (which requires removing some existing pinestraw)
  • Pull back pine bark and remove the zoysia that is attempting a hostile takeover of our flower beds
  • Trim back the hydrangeas. Possibly. I need to double check with the internet whether now is the appropriate time for that.

I can’t wait!

Well, mostly I can’t wait to see the finished product, but I’m still pretty darn excited!

Birds are Jerks

This morning at breakfast I was treated to a show in my back yard.

I saw 3-4 different cardinals popping in and out of my blueberry plants, no doubt checking to see if any were ripe.

Fortunately for me, none of them are ripe. Unfortunately for me some of them were ripening, and then shockingly they disappeared the next time I went to look at them. I would have thought the birdseed I put out for them, INCLUDING SHELLED SUNFLOWER SEEDS would be enough, but apparently it’s not. I always thought it must be the jerk mice eating my strawberries, but now I wonder. If the birds are getting the blueberries, maybe they’re getting the strawberries too. I can’t win!

(Although Layne has recently decided she is a bird/mouse hound and she stares at them with such intent. I can tell she’s just planning what she would do should she ever catch one. Lucky for them they’ve all been faster than her so far).

It seems like it would kill the aesthetic appeal for me to cage the fruit plants in, but as much as I love having the birds around, I don’t love them enough to be willing to forfeit any berries to them.

My Baby Plants

I finally planted my seedlings outside yesterday. They’re teeny still, and I’m not 100% sure they’re going to make it but I decided it’s now or never, plus if they die now I still have time to go get actual still living veggie plants at the farmer’s market.

I planted 5 jalapenos, 1 banana pepper, and 3 mystery plants. I say “mystery” because I wrote on the newspaper with marker to label them with “J”, “BP” or “G” (for green pepper) and on those 3 plants the writing had rubbed off so I have no idea what they are! Frankly at this stage they all look the same. So I potted them and can’t wait to find out what they are! I still plan on getting some plants from the farmer’s market because I want some okra and I want at least a couple of plants that are definitely green peppers (as opposed to just maybes).

So I planted them (and a tomato plant I got on sale at the grocery store because none of my seedling tomatoes made it this far) and I was all excited and then this morning around 1am I heard thunder. Then I saw a bright light (the bright light was actually Nate looking at his cellphone to check the weather to see if it was going to be a big storm. It was). So I ran outside and pulled all of my new plants up to the house because I was pretty sure they would not survive the pummeling of a thunderstorm at this stage and I was JUSTINTIME! Literally as I was running back up the stairs into my screened in porch it started pouring GIANT raindrops.

And then I got back in bed and immediately fell back asleep.

Fortunately I checked this morning and all of my little veggies are just fine! It just figures that immediately after I plant them we get a storm designed to kill them. Thanks again, nature!

My Container Garden is off to a Sad Start this Year

Sad garden by Geeky-Girl

This year I decided to start my summer veggie garden from seeds. I’ve read blogs where other people do it and thought I would give it a shot. If it worked, great! If not then I would just buy my veggie plants at the farmer’s market like I usually do. It seemed like a win-win!

I started off be planting seeds in an egg crate container, fully expecting they would never grow and it would be no big deal. To my surprise, every slot I seeded sprouted, sometimes multiple seeds took. I couldn’t believe it!

And then I made my first mistake. I got attached. I figured they sprouted, basically I had pretty much already won.

After they all sprouted I transferred them to bigger, newspaper made, containers, thinking they would continue to grow bigger and then poof, one day I would plant them outside and it would be awesome and they would be awesome and this was SO EASY I should have done it sooner.

Except then things kind of took a dive and now I’m not sure if any of my little plants are going to make it. I can’t decide exactly where I went wrong. I watered them pretty faithfully, but I think as we moved towards summer and the sun moved, the window they were sitting in got less and less sun and I didn’t really notice in time. So they were starting to look sad and droopy then last week I started taking them outside to get better sun, and now they’re looking sad, droopy, and kind of fried. Maybe they got too much sun? Maybe I should have been taking them outside sooner so it wouldn’t have been such a shock?

I figure soon it will be warm enough that I can take them out and leave them out overnight (maybe I should have done that sooner too?) and I’ll keep at them until they’re ready to plant, or until they die. Frankly I’m expecting them to die. It’s definitely disappointing, but at least I still have the farmer’s market to fall back on.

And I’ll definitely try it again this year, only I think I’ll start them out in the newspaper pots, and keep a better eye on the amount of sun they’re getting, and maybe start taking them outside sooner. I don’t know.. if anyone has any plant-related tips for me I’d be happy to hear them!

OK, Mouse.. It is ON!

Someone has been eating my strawberries and I’m sorry to say that it’s not me! I planted some strawberries in a pot out back last month and was SO EXCITED to see the strawberries forming, getting red, and then all of a sudden they were gone.I have since seen other strawberries get THISCLOSE and then vanish, leaving just a nub.

So I’ve concluded that some furry little a-hole has been eating my strawberries and while I was previously willing to live and let live, I’m not so sure that’s the case any more. I intend to grow other things back there and while I’m not really sure it will all be to a mouse’s liking I’m really not sure that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

And a random aside: Nate saw the mouse when he was mowing the other day and said it was HUGE which I already knew, but it made me feel slightly better about not being able to positively ID it as a mouse at first.

We have some “bug people” that come out quarterly and I think next time they come out  I’ll have them set out some little mouse-be-gone system they’ve showed us that lets the mice go in, eat the poison and go back out to die somewhere out in the field (or with my luck, somewhere in my back yard) and I’ll try to ignore the mild to moderate guilt I’ll feel as I’m enjoying my fresh strawberries.