Saturday, December 3, 2011


Got an exciting package in the mail that had me squealing before the door was shut.

Many thanks to Daphne at Daphne's Dandelions and her seed sharing for this delight! I'll be having some sweet gardening dreams tonight!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Seed Catalog

Winner of the first seed catalog this year... Stoke's seeds. :) Excited about planning. We tore the garden down this past week, all but the rest of the snow peas. Looking kind of bleak out there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What a Mess.

At least it's my mess. Thankful to have it this year, come this time next year we may be relocating due to hubby's schooling...

The garden was a big disappointment this year with just insurmountable heat slowing everything down. Biggest disappointment was my tomatoes, and the of the small amount that were there, the amount of theft by squirrel made it even more frustrating. I've begged the hubby for more garden space in the side yard, but we'll need to take a tree down (which desperately needs to come down anyway), and that's just not in the budget right now.

Here's the mess I've got right now, as well as a few things I'm still picking.

Here's the normal garden shot. Yup, Megan's Messy Garden is right. It started out tidy... oh well, there's always next year.

This is a fun little treat for me. I threw this into next to no space turtle/compost area when I pulled it out when it just wasn't growing quick enough. I got a few spare plants from friends, and it looks like this may still give me a harvest... nearly 11 months after I planted it from seed. Look at the little head forming! It's gotten more sunlight as the seasons have changed. Here's hoping. I loved the fresh broccoli we got!

Here are the green tomatoes ripening on the counter. I'll have more to add to this, since we still haven't had any frost yet. It'll come soon, I'm sure, but I'm not going to complain about the 60ish degree weather that we've got.

First jalapenos from the "extra" plants I stuck in the compost area. The plants got next to no sunlight, but have still somehow started producing fruit

Sad looking tomato plants, and peas that never grew.

More sad tomato plants, tumbling all over the place. Several of my plants didn't give me a single tomato. I'm hoping I may get a few green ones from them to save. The deep brown at the end was about a 1/2 cubic yard of compost we moved about a month or two ago, and it's already broken down to next to nothing still. That's going to be a nice and fertile area for next year!

 Of the 27-28 strawberry plants I planted last year, only about 3 or 4 survived the heat and my lack of watering this summer. Looks like I'll be adding that to my garden order this winter...

Almost finished for the season. At least the colors are pretty!  

(We DID clean up the leaves, including blowing off the patio just this past Friday... looks like we'll be doing that job a few more times before it's all cleaned up!)

Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I have been working like crazy, figuring out nights.  Just a quick note before I head in for another twelve hour night shift... my first frost advisory is from 1 am- 9 am starting tonight. I'm nowhere near ready for it, I've got many green tomatoes (finally) on my plants that need brought in.  This gardening season has been a bust this year, and I'm looking forward to the dream days of winter where I will get to envision the garden where I will magically take care of, and blog about, everything in my garden.  Maybe I'll post some current pictures soon. Maybe. It'll certainly prove my blog title.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Still Around, Just Busy

This is the worst time of year for me to blog. I just can't keep up with it, and my sad, hotter than hot garden is out there. We've gotten way less tomatoes this year than I'm okay with.  Things are just plain diseased and unproductive due to the heat. I think I *need* to find some new space for my tomatoes (the hubby doesn't know if he's going to accommodate this *need* yet). I want to be able to rotate them out of the space they have occupied for the past three years.

My husband is currently working on our batch of jalapeno poppers made with several harvests worth of jalapenos, which we'll have about 40 to freeze.

 I've replanted peas for the fall.  A bit of lettuce, and with large amounts of wishful thinking I threw some broccoli seeds into the ground. All of this meant that I pulled about six or seven completely unproductive tomato plants from the garden.

I'm pretty certain the last two turtle eggs inside are already dead, which is unfortunate, but this was a good learning year. I'm very sad to find that that means we won't have any baby turtles.  Nadine's entire clutch was fertilized, so it's been neat to learn some of what the embryonic development looks like, but I would never have wanted to find it out the way I've had to.

I hope everyone else is enjoying their gardens! I haven't had much time with my new job to do much (if ANY) reading in a while! I'm glad to finally have a nursing job, but it is pretty time consuming at this stage. It'll be the safest thing for my patients though.

I did better than last year with posting, so here's to next year making into August with regular posts!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Good Tomato, Bad Egg.

***WARNING-- Contains graphic turtle embryo picture--***

We had our very first Cherokee Purple tomato, and I was thoroughly impressed with the flavor! I was incredibly surprised that this thing ripened the full way through as well, considering how strange it looked! It was absolutely delicious, and was a great "first tomato" of the season. It was the first non-cherry tomato type that we ate, and it definitely did not disappoint! I've got another ripening out there, and I'm considering bringing it in to ripen as well!

I had a Brandywine (the one and ONLY on the plant...) that was snacked on, so I brought it inside to HOPEFULLY get to ripen, so that I could eat around it.  No good. It molded, got really nasty and juicy. It worked for my neighbors with one of theirs, but I still don't think I'm going to get a Brandywine this year, and don't think I'll be wasting my time on them next year, unless I find a cheap one at a nursery.

This one was HUGE too... 

I picked our first cucumber yesterday, and will probably pick our first couple okra today for frying for dinner tonight. The cucumber plant is starting to look strange, so I'll be researching diseases with those too...

In turtle news...

A few days ago, I noticed quite a large crack in one of the known-viable turtle eggs, and some of the yolk contents were spilling out. I thought I would leave it alone in case it "clotted" up on its own or something, but upon checking on the eggs today, I decided that it was finished. It had a very unpleasant smell, and I assumed the worst.  I was able to tell that there are in fact TURTLES in these eggs, this one just didn't make it.

Hopefully, if you didn't want to see these pictures, you got the warning at the top!

These are Nadine's eggs, and egg B-2 is the one that was damaged.

Upon pulling back the crack...
The ridge along the back of the shell is pretty incredible.  Turtle babies do not completely absorb the yolk part until they are hatched, and once they do, they will start to eat.

I guess it was appropriate that I was still wearing my scrubs for this "procedure".  It's amazing to get to see this stage of the development. You can clearly see the shell section and the head and where the eye would have been. This makes me really sad that we lost one, but very hopeful with the rest of them, since this is the first time (after three years) to actually see truly fertilized eggs. The others have become more opaque as they are filling up their eggs, so hopefully in the next month or two we'll have babies.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Harvest Monday

Thanks for hosting Harvest Monday Daphne-- head over to her blog Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting!

A few of the things harvested in the past week!

Bell peppers and bush green beans

Funny zucchini (another unpollinated-- though it has seeds forming in the FLOWER... picture below), basil and another bell pepper

I promise, this blossom NEVER opened... I tore it open!

A handful of cherry tomatoes (Sweet 100, Sweet Million, and Sundrop)

I'm loving the start of the tomato season!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Long time, no blog.

So it's been nearly a MONTH since I last posted. It's been an overwhelming (to say the least) thought of updating this the longer I go. I had over 80 photos to upload to my photobucket for it to even happen. I attempted that part while I made dinner, and food for church this morning, and by the time that was done, there just wasn't time left in the day.

I've been very busy! After a year of searching for a nursing job, I start my first real job as an RN tomorrow! Finishing up at my other job, and getting everything ready to go for the new job has taken up a lot of time! My brother-in-law was living here, and has left, we had to ask the 20 year old who was living here to move on, which was kind of a lot in itself. That also meant that I had to completely redo that room. (My new job means that I'll be working nights for a while, so I needed to make the only basement--no window-- bedroom livable)

I have continued to garden, and harvest, and eat plenty out of the garden (not as much as I would have liked) and still took many pictures (also not as much as I would have liked)

Here's a before and after of the room I worked on. Definitely still a work in progress. I'd like to refinish the dresser, and get some bedding for this room, but I didn't want to just leave a plain mattress in there and call it "finished".  Took about three or four coats of primer to cover up those Sharpee drawings on the wall-- note to self NEVER allow that to happen when you have kids.

Here's a sample of what has been harvested this past month. 

The three green zebras in the center are the only three we'll have. One has been eaten.  Both plants died from some sort of wilt, and I had to pull them.  I'm very sad about that, it was one of my favorite plants last year!

Some of the turtle eggs are definitely fertile, and we're very excited about it! I've been "candling" them. Those with chickens are probably familiar with this. I've done this with all of the eggs (though I don't actually pick them up, like you would with chickens). I shine the flash light up next to them, and have watched as veins are forming in 6 of the 15 eggs. I'm pretty certain all of Eleanor's eggs are duds (which is a bummer, she's by far the prettiest turtle) I've read different websites that have said you can candle box turtle eggs, and others that say that you can't, well... you can.

(Egg laid by Nadine-- June 5) Picture taken June 30

picture taken today-- July 10

Garden June 18

Garden-- July 2

Since the first picture, all lettuce has been pulled, it finally got incredibly bitter (after weeks in the 90s!), we pulled three of the four broccoli plants. I'm holding out for the fourth. Also pulled were the peas... much to the dog's dismay. They had a good run, and we ate as many as they gave us. No frozen ones this year, but we weren't good about eating the frozen ones last year. I'm hoping for a fall crop this year as well. I've planted and staked up pole beans, and planted more. We've had our first green bean harvest, though not impressive. We've had several handfuls of cherry tomatoes. I know that means that I missed my first tomato of the year post, but we've yet to have a great full sized garden tomato. We have had a severe issue with squirrels stealing them before they're ready. They're not discriminatory either, they take the green ones and the ones that are ripening!  I snagged this (crazy looking!) Cherokee Purple (thanks EG!) one off of the plant, and it's ALMOST finished ripening on the counter. I wasn't going to risk it any longer. I want to taste these!

Here's the "MESSIEST" part of my garden. The catch all of the extra plants within the turtle/compost pen... It doesn't get near enough sunlight, but there are several squash, zucchini, marigolds, and volunteer tomato plants coming up anyway. if I get food from back there great, if not it's just a place for me to be a bit "extra messy".

Here's the front of the house in bloom. The fuschia petunias to the right were planted from seed, and are only four plants! It's a "wave" variety, and I ran out of seeds so that's one I'll have to reorder for next year. They are GREAT bloomers!  I got to see my daylillies for the first time this year, and my glads are in bloom along with my rose of sharon.  

I think that's about all I'll fit into this post, and this evening... I've already gotten the "are you going to be off of there soon..." comment. So, hopefully I can do some catch up readings on some of the blogs I read as well! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Harvest Monday

Here are some of the things I harvested, and some of the ways that I used them this past week. If you want to see what others are harvesting, head on over to Daphne's Dandelions! She graciously hosts this every week!

I harvested the scallions that went on this dish, but didn't get a before picture.

My crazy zucchini, some side shoots, more peas, and one I missed!

The lettuce is needing to be pretty much picked this week or next.  Most are showing signs of bolting, but we've really enjoyed our salads this season!

More peas, my first yellow squash, and another zucchini.

Here is the first way I used some zucchini.  We tried a new recipe, and I'd share it, but we weren't thrilled with the results.  We would have liked less mush to the zucchini and more crisp from the breading.  It was a nice little treat, we just didn't need two whole zucchinis for it. 

Yesterday, I made a delicious stir fry/chicken lo mein dish with the remaining broccoli, peas, zucchini, and yellow squash from this week, and we loved it. I forgot to take a picture of it fresh, and I refuse to take a picture of the leftovers in the tupperware.  We are loving having such a fun variety of food coming from the garden!  The lettuce has been my husband's favorite so far. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Zucchini is Weird.

end of story. I can't figure it out. Please explain why this particular fruit (that still has a closed blossom...) is big enough that I had to pick it, and the one that I hand pollinated is only four inches long.

Blossom still thinking about opening up. This is not a mushy, opened and reshut blossom. I'm out there everyday, and watch these things like crazy. (Crazy is probably the correct word for how many times I go out and look at the garden and the turtles)

If you click on this one to enlarge it, you can KIND of see the smaller fruit (that is growing...) that was hand pollinated compared to the huge one still left on! I know, I know, you can also see that my plants have powdery mildew, and they've been ravaged by wind damage... but I'm okay with not feeding the community my zucchini.  They've also had a very hard time dealing with this 15-16 day span of above 90 temperatures in their 2.5 gallon containers. They've needed a couple of reviving efforts along the way, but they're still kicking.

I'm going to try to keep it short, this time, just thought this was strange. Here's a quick look at the garden progress.  Lettuce is beginning its bolting process, so that'll be out of there pretty soon.  Nice to see the mixtures of colors while they last.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What to do with Cabbage Loopers

I fortunately have not had to deal with any cabbage loopers until now. Last year, my plants looked like a lace doily, and I never got any broccoli from those plants.  It's nice to know that there is a place to take them when I find them though!

I spent two hours out in the garden with sprinklers and new fertilizer. I bought some new organic fertilizer and some blood meal yesterday.  Organic = stinky.  I had to breathe through my mouth for the whole process, but I had several of my paste tomatoes get blossom end rot, and it's been a while since any of my plants have been fed.  I've done a much better job with that, and keeping the plants staked this year, but it's still a hard thing for me to remember to do!

I picked a full sized zucchini and my first yellow squash today! More peas were picked, and I'm about to go plant some more green beans. I cut all but the very newest growth out of my strawberries today, because they appear done. I did this based off of a suggestion from my great uncle, so we'll see how they do. They were looking pretty sad and diseased anyway.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Harvest Monday

Thanks for hosting Harvest Monday Daphne! If you want to check out what others are harvesting, head over to Daphne's Dandelions!

I harvested this broccoli yesterday, and it was added to stir fry with a bunch of other garden vegetables for dinner for three last night. I had a few open yellow flowers, so it had to be cut. This is my first year harvesting broccoli, so I am still learning when to harvest it. Hopefully I'll know better next year!

One of the snow pea harvests

Looks like I missed one in the previous harvest from the day before!

Five more heads of lettuce: 2 Buttercrunch, 1 Little Caesar Romaine, and 2 Valerie

Strawberries that I shared with the neighbors, but grabbed a picture of before I took them over.

More strawberries and peas!

More peas!

The bag of peas is for size reference only, though we ate all of them finally yesterday.

Everything green in this meal came from the garden! And there were three of us who ate it! The zucchini babies were delicious, and perfect, and tasted no different. They were small, and had the tiniest seeds in them, but that was the only difference. This meal was a very satisfying one!

I was having a hard time remembering what I had harvested, and thought it would be a small post, but when I pulled up all of the pictures I was pleasantly surprised! This was a great garden week!

Sorry to sound redundant, but this morning I recovered another four turtle eggs! Eleanor laid 4 more last night, so that is the first time she has double clutched here to our knowledge.  Multiple clutching is very normal for box turtles, we just haven't seen it happen before. Her total for the season is now up to 9, and only 19 days apart. I guess she wasn't going to be outdone by Nadine, who laid six the night before.  We now have a total of 15 eggs inside.  I did some research last night about multiple clutching, and found some instances where the average amount of eggs per female/season was around 11.  This is the first year we've had any turtle besides Eleanor lay, but I don't know what we'd do with 44 baby turtles, not that I'm counting my turtles...