July Garden Update

I’ve got a fever… and the only prescription is more flowers!

We’ve got COVID – womp womp :(. Since we’ve been home isolating and I haven’t been up for manual labor, I’ve been doing a lot of daydreaming about gardening. It feels like winter to me… stuck inside, going stir crazy. To combat the boredom, I read a book on cut flower gardening (by Erin Benzakein of Floret Farm), watched YouTube videos (this, this, this, and this) on how to arrange flowers, and started filling up virtual shopping carts with bulbs and flower seeds to plant this fall. By the way, if you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to start thinking about and ordering spring-blooming bulbs to plant this fall. 

Here’s the scoop on what’s been going on in the garden lately.

Bugs & Critters

It’s July, and the garden is at its peak (check out the photos tab at the top of the page for the latest garden photos). Flowers are blooming, veggies and fruits are producing, and bugs and critters are having a heyday. The days are now getting shorter since we’ve passed the summer solstice, and with that, the rate of growth of most plants slows down. I’m starting to notice little holes here and there in the garden, either from plants that didn’t germinate, got hit by the heat/dry days we had in June, or have been ravaged by pests. Lessons I’m re-learning: I need butterfly netting for brassicas from now on, squash vine borers are the devil/I do not have the patience and vigilance to grow summer squash, and bunnies and squirrels from far and wide see our garden as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Here are a few pests I’ve seen lately:

Leaf-footed bug, a relative of stink bugs that likes to eat garden fruits and veggies

Japanese Beetles mating on my canna lilies…grrr!

The dreaded Squash Vine Borer. Killing off my zucchini plants like it ain’t no thang.

Cabbage white caterpillar decimating my broccoli plants.

Cabbage white caterpillar decimating my broccoli plants.

Tree Frogs

In the week or two since we’ve been under the weather, there has been a MASSIVE explosion in our tree frog population. Baby tree frogs are EVERYWHERE. While mowing our yard yesterday, I felt like I was playing frogger in the most literal way. I had to slow WAY down to coax the little tree frogs out of the mower’s path. As far as I know, I didn’t hit any, but some of them seemed to have a death wish. Ironically, the She Reads Truth Bible Study going on right now is Exodus, and I’m almost at the frog plague part! 

Weeds

In years past, I haven’t stayed on top of pruning like I should, and as a result, our yard ends up looking like a jungle by July. This year, I’m being ruthless with trimming and weeding. There have been a few plants I wasn’t sure of the ID, so I let them grow until I could determine what they were by leaf patterns/flowers/fruits. As it turns out, some of these very giant plants I have been nurturing and protecting are just big ol’ weeds. Oops! Here they are so you don’t make the same mistake I did!

Tech-Y Stuff

Word to the wise, if you have Google Photos on your phone, you can take a photo and use the “lens” functionality to do a quick image search for plant and bug IDs – it’s amazing. It’s also a little bit creepy because it’s Google, after all.

I’m still working on getting pictures updated. It looks like I’ll need to just re-upload most of the photos that aren’t working, so I’ll work from the current post, going back. 

Well that’s all for now! See you back on the blog soon!

Leave a comment

Technical Difficulties

The hard part about keeping an online log of my gardening endeavors is that I have to do COMPUTER STUFF sometimes. I’d rather be frolicking in a meadow somewhere (and usually I am, which is why I post less frequently during the growing season). Most of the time, my nerdy husband can help with the techy stuff… (this great SNL skit comes to mind:)

This time, I’m going to try to fix it myself. Say a prayer and send wine!

Overnight, the majority of my photos on this site disappeared. I still have them locally, but I’m thinking there’s probably an issue with how I’m linking to them in Google Photos. 

So, all that is to say, I’m working on restoring these photos as I can. Here goes!

Leave a comment

Fun with flowers

Though I love to grow things, I am TERRIBLE at flower arranging. Maybe I don’t have the right style of vases? Or maybe it’s my lack of style/decorating sense coming out, but I just don’t know what to do. 

SOMEONE HELP MEH - Happy Squirrel | Make a Meme

BUTTT, I’m growing flowers this year with the intention of actually cutting them and putting them inside my house, so here I am, making sad attempts at arranging bouquets.

Here’s my first one of the season… Benary’s Giant Zinnias, Black-Eyed Susans, Salvia, Cilantro, and Gardenia. These were the result of pruning around my walkways. 

Fun fact, the more you cut flowers (or dead head spent blossoms), the more the plant will keep on flowering. It’s ultimate goal is to set seed before the fall gets here, so it’s going to put it’s energy (up to a certain point) into trying to do that by flowering, fruiting, and setting seed.

I’m slowly learning about cut flower growing, and one rule I’ve been hearing over and over is to stake plants BEFORE you think they need it. It just takes one strong wind gust or storm to topple tall growers, and afterwards, the plant is never really the same. After a plant is blown down, it will regrow, but the stem will be crooked (because it’s trying to grow towards the sun). So I’m doing my best to try to put stakes and twine up now… hopefully I can stay ahead of it!

Does anyone have any pro tips on flower arranging? Should I be using a bigger vase? Different shaped vase? Does this need more greenery? Drop some knowledge on me! I’m all ears!

Leave a comment

Who is the King of Glory?

Every time I’ve thought about writing a devotional lately, my mind keeps going back to a song from Third Day – maybe you’ve heard it:

David asks the question in Psalm 24, “who is the king of glory?” The answer is “The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.”

Let’s take a look at the entire Psalm for some context:

Psalm 24:1-2

First, David establishes the theme of this Psalm – that the earth belongs to God and He is in control.

Psalm 24:3-4

God alone is holy. Ascending the mountain (temple mount), standing in his holy place would have been the High Priest’s duty one time a year, on the Day of Atonement. The priest would have to make a sacrifice first for his own sins, then for the sins of the people before entering. It was so holy, that the other priests would have tied a cord around the high priest’s waist so they could drag him out if he died while in the holiest place. Yeah, pretty crazy.

The rhetorical question here is pretty interesting, because we see that no one really fits the bill. Does anyone really have clean hands and a pure heart, not trusting in idols? No… except one person (spoiler alert it’s Jesus). Hebrews 7 explains Christ’s unique position as both the high priest who intercedes for us with God AND also the actual offering. Hebrews 7:23-28.

Psalm 24:5-6

Since we now have Christ who has purified us to come close to God (Hebrews 10:19-22), we can receive this blessing and vindication! This is a result of seeking Him out.

Psalm 24:7, 9

I was a little confused about this – the NIV says “lift up your heads, you gates,” which begs the question, how can gates lift up their heads? Do gates have heads? New Living Translation to the rescue! “Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.” Ooh, such a beautiful picture! Can you imagine some rusty old gates being thrust open to let Jesus come through? I love that entry! Reminds me of this scene from Harry Potter:

Harry Potter World on Twitter: "Happy 66th Birthday to George Harris! He  portrayed Kingsley Shacklebolt in the Harry Potter films.  https://t.co/5LmqK4ve5i" / Twitter

Psalm 24: 8

We get the answer here… the King of glory is The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD, invincible in battle. I don’t know about you, but an invincible king is the one I want to serve. 

Here “The LORD” is YHWH (phonetically “yeh-ho-vaw”, which we English-speaking folks often say as “Jehovah”). The root word of YHWH is “hayah”, which means “to become”… AKA “I Am”. Isn’t that cool? God’s name (as he tells Moses at the burning bush) is “I Am”. He just is! Check out Strong’s Concordance for more info on this name for God. 

Psalm 24:10

Reiterating this again – with a different name for God… the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – he is the King of glory. Again “the Lord” is YHWH, but Heaven’s Armies is “tsaba“, meaning army, war, warfare.  Our God is a warrior!

In this Psalm, we see clearly that God is in charge of the earth and everyone in it. He is holy, he is our priest, and he is our warrior-king. In light of all that’s happening in the world today (Ukraine, especially), I’m especially thankful for this reassurance. God is good! 

I hope you all rest in this truth today! God is in control – He is our King of glory!

Leave a comment

Seed Comparison Shopping

I was raised by a shopaholic mom. No joke. We would drive all the way from our house in Cary to as far as Greensboro just to get a deal. It was pretty fun as a pre-teen… my sister and mom and I would make a day of it and go all day on a Saturday. Our poor dad probably needed to eat an entire bottle of Tums when he heard mom say we were going shopping. I’m glad I never had to see those bills :-/.

Even though I’ve slowed down a bit now that I’m paying the bills myself, the thrill of the hunt runs strong in our family. Put my sister, mom, and I in a TJ Maxx and we can do some serious damage, unearthing amazing finds hidden in racks and behind throw rugs for dirt cheap. 

So, when it comes to buying seeds, it should come as no surprise that momma didn’t raise no fool. I look for the deals y’all. 

I am going to go big or go home this year in the garden, and a cut flower bed is GOING TO HAPPEN. See? I already laid out the bed shape! 

New L-shaped flower bed is happening!

Here are some thoughts as you’re doing your seed shopping:

Consider Free Seeds First

  • Did you know your local library *probably* has free seeds? They do! At our library, we can get up to 4 packets of free seeds from the “seed library” per season. They may not be the sexiest varieties, but hey, they’re free!
  • Also, ask other gardeners if they’d like to split seed packets or have any old seeds they didn’t like or don’t want to plant. 
  • Sometimes seed companies will give you a free packet of seeds if you spend over X amount of dollars with them. It’s a crap shoot, but you might get something for free. At Baker Creek, you get a free packet for every $35 you spend on seeds.
  • Now is a great time to look for free seeds in nature/your garden/public gardens! Spent seed heads may still have seeds in them at this time of year (my fennel certainly does!). If you know what grew there, it might be worth taking a gamble. 

Consider Unit Price

I’m finding that sunflower seeds are cheaper from Seed Saver’s Exchange. Though the price per packet is a bit higher, each packet contains more seeds. Take these identical varieties of Torch Sunflower from Seed Saver’s Exchange and Baker Creek, for example:

Torch Sunflower from Seed Saver's Exchange

VERSUS…

Initially the Baker Creek one looks like the better deal because it’s cheaper per pack. But look at the fine print… you’re only getting 35 seeds. Seed Saver’s Exchange gives you almost triple that amount for only slightly more money. Let’s so some math…yes, math.

$3.75/100 seeds = $0.04 per seed @ Seed Saver’s Exchange. Whereas $3.00/35 seeds = $0.09 per seed @ Baker Creek.

Math Memes | Memes

Now, does that price difference really matter all that much? No, it’s not a huge deal if you’re only buying a few seed packets. But me? I’m about to buy A LOT of seeds and sow A LOT of seeds at once (see shopping cart – Lord help me).

I’m not done here… this will get whittled down (likely by Jonah)

Jim Carrey The Mask - Imgflip

Please. This is my cry for help!!!

Generally speaking, I’d rather buy a greater quantity of seeds AND Fewer varieties than A Smaller QUANTITY of seeds AND MORE varieties.

Why? Because it’s better to plant SWATHS of plants than a bunch of individual plants.

Frankly, an individual plant looks kind of dumb all on its own, and it’s also more likely to get overlooked by pollinators and YOU, the gardener. Give it a friend! Or maybe 10 friends! When it comes to something like sunflowers, it’s also good to hedge your bets with more seeds because birds, squirrels, bunnies, and e’erybody else WILL go to town munching those newly planted seeds and seedlings. When you plant more of the same, you can afford to lose some to predation and bad weather

An exception to shopping by the unit price rule would be if you’re buying something kind of experimental. Like you aren’t sure it’s going to work in your zone or you’re not sure if you’ll love it or not. In that case, get the cheaper seed packet, even if there are fewer seeds. That way, you’re not wasting seeds if you decide not to grow it in future years and you’re not out a lot of money on seeds you hate.

Consider Varieties Available

Baker Creek and Johnny’s have WAY more varieties to choose from, so if you’re looking for a specific color or growth habit (i.e. for containers), you’re more likely to find it there than SSE. Take Hollyhocks, for example:

Baker Creek’s options don’t wow me… they don’t offer a packet that has a mix of colors:

But I’d LOVE the Outhouse variety from SSE for the combo of colors:

 

Consider Shipping Costs

Unless you’re buying seeds in person, rather than online, that is. Free shipping covers a multitude of sins. If you only want a few seed packs and the company does not offer free shipping, it might be best to find them at a local nursery instead.

Consider Hybrids

These will cost you a pretty penny, but they might be worth it for some plants. For instance, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to grow zucchini or yellow squash ever again (squash bugs and squash vine borers have gotten them almost every year), but if I did, I would DEFINITELY pay for an F1 that is resistant to powdery mildew and that pests might not like as much.

Hybrid vigor is a thing (hybrids produce more than open pollinated), but any seeds you save won’t be like the parent plant.

Here’s an example comparing zucchini varieties (not exactly apples to apples, since it’s different companies, but you get the picture):

An F1 from Johnny’s:

VERSUS

An open-pollinated from SSE:

I hope these tips help as you’re thinking about seeds for this year! For more on this subject, check out my entries from last year. Happy shopping!

 

Where to Start? Nursery Transplants vs Direct Sowing vs Indoor Seed Starting

All About Seeds – Part 1! Deciphering Seed Packets

All About Seeds – Part 2! Seed Lingo Decoded

All About Seeds – Part 3! Selecting Varieties for Planting

Leave a comment

2022 Goals: Carpe(t) Diem?

It’s that time of year again… time to evaluate how I did on my goals from the past year and make plans for the year ahead!

So how did I fare in 2021? SURVEY SAYS…. Meh.

2021 Goals revisited

As a reminder, here are my goals from last year (with updates in blue):

Verse: Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

I didn’t quite memorize this verbatim, but I have the gist of it in my head. This verse turned out to be very fitting for me this year. Over the past few years, I’ve been having a tough time with my mental health. Thanks to encouragement from friends and family, I finally did something about it and sought out therapy and medication to treat my depression. I am so thankful for the gift of a better state of mind and working towards wholeness and health. This was the biggest win of 2021 for me. Hooray! Thank you Jesus!

Personal Goals

Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus: How a Jewish Perspective Can Transform  Your Understanding: Tverberg, Lois: 9780801017155: Amazon.com: Books

        • These books made me think (because injustice is so angering, but these women overcame)

      • Prayer & kid journals daily – Yes! I did this! Now starting on year two of my journaling 🙂
      • Phone free mornings & offline day – Nope. But I have a new strategy for this year!
      • Daily one on one quiet time with God – Meh. Not really. I’d like to do better at this in 2022.
      • Less meat – For the most part, yes. I’ve subbed in beans for meat in a lot of dishes this year and I’ve been doing better at buying better quality meat when we do partake (certified humane, organic when possible).
      • Be fully present at meals – I’ve been doing somewhat better, but again need to do better at this in 2022.

Family Goals

      • Read a parenting book together – Technically we did this! It was a book about potty training (“Oh Crap! Potty Training”) and we listened to it as an audiobook, but I’m counting it!
      • Gave me the kick in the pants I needed to start potty training our oldest.

      • Visit more state parks/hiking – We did hike a fair amount, but didn’t make it to any new parks. We’ve enjoyed exploring our local parks a lot this year, though!
      • Hiking with friends at Horton Grove Nature Preserve

      • Farmers market once a month (post-COVID) – We still aren’t living in a post-COVID world, but I have been able to do this since getting vaccinated. I want to continue doing this in 2022.
        • Doing some apple variety reconnaissance at the state farmer’s market in November

Financial Goals

      • Open college accounts for baby 2 – We did this!
      • Save towards down payment – Yes! By automating our savings from our checking account to our house account, we were able to sock away a significant amount!
      • Dollar Dollar Bill Yall GIFs | Tenor

2022 Goals

This year’s theme is going to be Carpe(t?) Diem! The year of carpet (we need to get floor redone BADLY) and the year of seizing the day. This means not putting things off, taking full advantage of opportunities, praising God for all He has done, is doing, and will do, and living fully

Scripture for the Year: Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.a]

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Personal Goals

  • Snacking after dinner no more than 3x/wk
    • My appetite is non-stop (maybe from nursing a baby?), but I’d like to have better self-control
  • Post on this blog 2x/mo
  • No phone in bedroom (to avoid endless scrolling and promote reading/better sleep habits)

Family Goals 

  • 1000 hrs outside in one year (we started this in November and are just 5 hours away from our first 100!). I’d love to have you join us! 
  • Carpet diem – new flooring in our house
  • Trips to Glacier National Park, Michigan (to visit my grandmother – we missed her 90th birthday last year), and a romantic weekend for me and Jonah without kids
  • Grinnell Peak reflects in the calm waters of Swiftcurrent Lake on a beautiful sunrise at Many Glacier

    Glacier National Park – I want to go to there!

 

Leave a comment

Tips on Planting Fruit Bushes & Notes on Leaf Hoarding

FRUIT!!!!!

My idea for adding fruit to our garden has come to fruition! Since my last post, the Jubilee Garden has grown by 144 square feet for a 4 ft x 36 ft blackberry and blueberry bed! There are 4 Osage Blackberries and one each of these blueberry varieties: Blueberry Buckle (a self-pollinating, dwarf hybrid), and Brightwell and Powder Blue (rabbiteye types that need another variety to cross-pollinate and produce fruit – does best in the south). This is my pipe dream of what I’ll be snacking on in about a year and a half…

Vaccinium Ashei Brightwell Rabbiteye Blueberry | SiteOne

Here are some things to consider if you’re planning on adding fruit to your landscape!

  1. Choose Fruits that are Suitable for Your Climate
    1. I love raspberries, but they don’t do well in NC. Blackberries do better, and I happen to like them, too.
    2. A garden retailer at my local farmer’s market told me that for my area, Apples and Peaches should be left to the professionals because we don’t get enough chill hours for most apple varieties here (do better in the NC mountains) and peaches have A LOT of problems that need to be heavily managed to yield a good crop (spraying). She probably shouldn’t have told me that, because now I sort of consider that a challenge (I’ll show you, farmers market lady!), but I’m going to prioritize the easier fruits over these.
    3. I’d love a grapevine, but bunch grapes require a lot of work, while muscadines are native to this area and basically don’t need any help.
  2. Pick the Best Varieties
    1. NC State has done all the hard work and figured out what works best and what’s most disease- and pest-resistant. If you’re going to go to all the trouble of planting, hedge your bets and listen to the experts! 
  3. Research the Best Time of Year to Plant
    1. Usually it’s fall/spring, but check your state’s cooperative extension website to see what they recommend for your area. Here in NC, either one works, but preference is usually for fall plantings for perennials and trees since our winters are mild. In areas with harsh winters (lots of sub-freezing temps), it may be better to wait until spring so the plants have a better chance of surviving.
  4. Consider Your Soil
    1. Blueberries need acidic soil, other fruits prefer neutral. You might need a soil test (link to my county’s testing site) to determine what you’re starting off with. I’ve never done a soil test, but I’ll probably do one this year because I learned it COSTS A MEASLEY $4 (I mean c’mon, so cheap!). AND if you do it during the growing season (April-Nov) it’s FREE!
    2. Free? free? free? free? - Nemo Seagulls | Meme Generator

      YUPPPP

  5. Determine the Right Planting Location
    1. Most fruits want full sun (6-8 hrs+ unfiltered light). LET THE SUNSHINE IN! They also need water, especially in the first year to get their roots established.
  6. Resist the Temptation
    1. The first year or two, you probably want to pick off any flowers you see on your plants, thus eliminating any fruit from being produced. This forces the plant to focus on root and vegetative growth. Sacrifice now means bigger, healthier plants and larger harvests later! I hate this so much, though! 
Cry Sad GIF - Cry Sad Meme - Discover & Share GIFs

My feelings about not eating fruit the first year after planting…

ALL THE LEAVES

Now a note on leaf hoarding. Initially, I started digging out a bed, but realized quickly that was a HORRIBLE idea. It’s labor intensive, time consuming, and completely unnecessary. Enter: SHEET MULCHING.

What is it? Essentially, you lay down something biodegradable to smother your grass and any weeds (I chose cardboard) and HEAP on the mulch (like 8+ inches worth).

In my case, I chose leaves because they’re plentiful AND FREE (can you see a theme here?). AND at this time of year, my wonderful neighbors have handily raked and packaged them for yard waste pickup – saving me labor and dolla dolla bills, ya’ll. So, yes, I creepily took rescued bags of leaves from my neighbors and family (most of the time, I asked first ;)). I definitely got some weird looks from people walking in the neighborhood as I fished leaves out of yard waste bins and hauled bags of leaves into the back of my SUV (sort of like a yard-waste hobo).

Leaves are worth their weight in gold as compost fodder and mulch. DO NOT LET THEM LEAF (ha!) your property! In fact, we got rid of your yard waste altogether and have never been happier!

Precious rescued cargo from my neighbor Brittany! Thanks girl!

For the new bed, you could use compost, leaf mold (composted leaves), or wood chips. Just don’t use something gross that could leach chemicals into your soil (dyed mulch, shredded rubber mulch). You could even build your beds using Hugelkultur (mounding sticks and other yard debris as the base of your bed as filler, leaving them to decompose over time… you’d still want to add some sort of finer mulch over top). 

Ideally, prepping beds should be done before planting, BUTTTTTTTTTTTTT…I was in a hurry, so I made do.

First, I figured out my spacing based on the mature size of the plants. It looks sparse now, but there’s room for them to grow. I can also plant annuals in the beds (flowers or veggies) these first few years to fill in the gaps.

Here are the steps for planting a new small fruits bed (if you haven’t prepped the bed in advance):

Measure how far you want your bed from existing plantings

Use stakes and string to define the bed area

Place plants with their full-grown size in mind

Dig holes 2x as wide and just as deep as the root ball of your bush. Plant away!

Check out that beautiful blueberry! And the great photography skills (sorry for the finger in the image!)

If planting in spring, you can add soil amendments if needed (acidifier for blueberries, for example). If your climate allows for fall or winter planting, don’t add anything that would spur new growth or bring the plant out of dormancy (fertilizer) until springtime.

add cardboard and your mulch of choice around the plantings

Here’s the final product!

Happy planting!

Leave a comment

That time I straight up broke my shovel…

I broke a shovel today! I don’t know whether to be angry or somewhat proud of myself for exerting that much force.

RIP shovel!

Im Not Even Mad GIFs | Tenor

I’ve been doing battle with some horrible holly bushes next to our house for the past year. Actually, scratch that, since we moved here. The people who lived in this house before us made some very interesting gardening choices. And by interesting, I mean ridiculous. Like planting a fig tree six feet from the house (it touches the house and has to be pruned every single year), a giant crape myrtle 5 feet from the house (same problem), filling a bed with pebbles WITHOUT lining it with weed blocking fabric first (weed city), and most insanely of all, planting approximately a dozen holly bushes around the house, pretty much right on top of each other.

A well manicured holly is fine, and the berries are great for the birds in wintertime, but seriously these people must have been blissfully ignorant of the plant tags when they planted everything. Like didn’t care about plant spacing AT ALL. I could go on and on about the weirdness around here, but I’ll save you the headache. Let’s just leave it at I’ve been re-designing and correcting their poor choices since Jonah and I got married and I moved in.

This spring (because pregnancy hormones are real), I finally had it with the hollies and decided that I needed to renovate the garden bed next to our garage door since it’s pretty visible from the street. After hacking them to the ground as an attempt to kill them earlier this year, yesterday I started the undertaking of removing the root balls to really put the nail in the coffin.

HOLY COW. Talk about physical labor! The first root ball was maybe 30ish pounds and took me about an hour to get out. The second one ended up being 60 pounds (easily), and even with the help of an awesome new tool I tried – a mattock – I still broke our shovel.

Mattock – part axe, part digger, part awesome.

Needless to say, I was seriously channeling my inner Rosie the Riveter (and I will also be taking some ibuprofen soon):

Massive holly root balls – gnarly!

Rosie the Riveter We Can Do it Poster

The new plan for that bed will be a purple butterfly bush in the center (I had one pop up in our backyard that I’m going to transplant), some coral-hued mums in a semi-circle in front of the butterfly bush, and some pansies (also corals/reds) and dusty millers in front of that. I hope to get that done tomorrow and will post pictures once it’s done!

Little butterfly bush I’m going to transplant (on the right)

 

Craters left behind by the massive root balls

Leave a comment

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, well, well! The Jubilee garden is back in full swing! 

After a much needed hiatus from the garden (in which the garden STEADILY continued to provide fruit, veggies, and flowers I did not plant), I’m back to it. This week, I sowed seeds for my fall/spring garden. Here in NC, most of our fall plantings do decently over winter. 

I find the fall garden to be simpler than a summer garden. There are fewer things to grow, so I can really focus on just a few types of crops that I really enjoy. There also seems to be less planning (or at least I’m treating it that way!). I know this garden isn’t going to be meeting all my family’s produce needs over the winter (because I’m not a homesteader or living off the grid), so there’s a lot less pressure to make it work. My attitude is, if it grows, awesome! If it fails, there’s always Harris Teeter.

First off, I have to give credit to my mini- gardener of a daughter who helped me with this garden plan earlier in the week (see below). Don’t you just love it!? Her explanation was that the green blocks are green beans, orange are pumpkins, red are tomatoes, and blue are blueberry bushes. Oh, and there’s a tree and some cat toys in there for good measure.

My daughter's garden plan

Can I stress again how important it is to make a plan? And also to be ready to adjust that plan once you’re outside in your space? Here’s why:

This was my original, completely organized idea of what I was going to plant and where:

fall plantings draft

ANNNNNDDDD then I got outside and random volunteer plants were already growing in some of the spaces (like Strawberry Spinach, which I think we’ll eat), so I made some notes on post-its, like this:

So here’s what ended up happening for real:

Fall plantings revised

Orange items are plantings I had to change because:

  1. I ran out of fava beans,
  2. I realized garlic was a poor choice for around the center trellis since I plan to plant peas or beans on it in the spring and alliums like garlic don’t tango with legumes
  3. Strawberry spinach self-sowed in my last bed and I’m not about to pull up a free spinach plant – we eat spinach salads almost every single week!

Dont Get Crazy Bon Qui Qui GIF - Dont Get Crazy Crazy Bon Qui Qui GIFs

It’s good to be flexible in the garden! 

Now, what I’m sure you’re really here to see are all my happy seedlings and garden pictures. Happy to oblige. Until next time… happy gardening!

Fava beans going in! Also, dandelion diggers are THE BEST seed planting tool. 

So, so good to be back as master of my domain!

This is why you have to be ready to adjust your life plans (and plants!). Originally planned to plant mostly brassicas in here, but strawberry spinach plants are doing their thang. Who am I to interfere?

See all those green specks? Um yeah. I’m pretty sure those are ALL strawberry spinach babies. They’re multiplying like rabbits!

Baby greens popping up already!

I bought the marigolds, but everything else in this picture came up on their own. Go Jubilee Garden, go!

Butterfly bushes are doing AWESOME this year.

Free plants! Volunteer butterfly bush. So stoked to transplant this little fella soon!

Hey there little Asters!

Might be a bit hard to see, but those little seedlings along the grass line are cilantro seedlings! They self sowed!

We threw out our black oil sunflower seeds from our bird feeder due to the mystery illness wreaking havoc on birds. Guess what? Those seeds were VI-A-BLE! Also, hey there little coneflower volunteer!

Fig clones! I shall call them… mini-tree!

Verne Troyer's tragic death underlines the harm Mini-Me caused people with dwarfism | Verne Troyer | The GuardianYou’re welcome for the Austin Powers throw back ;).

These fig saplings are getting so big!

 

Leave a comment

SoDu Farmer’s Market

SoDu Farmer's Market

This year, since I’m not growing as much food as I normally would in our garden, I’ve been trying out different farmer’s markets in the area. Can I just say, I love farmer’s markets?! Let me count the ways!

  1. Supporting local growers and producers keeps resources here and promotes the local economy.
  2. By supporting local, I can also avoid shipping costs and reduce my carbon footprint.
  3. Avoiding excess packaging is better for the earth. I can bring my own bag to the market and buy loose veggies and fruits instead of items wrapped in plastic wrap. Less trash is a win in my book!
  4. I can choose to support organic and sustainable farmers who are committed to preserving the land and local ecosystems. Plus I don’t have to worry about anything sprayed on my food.
  5. I can meet the people who grow my food and hear their stories, get great ideas for recipes, get gardening tips, and learn about other community resources (places that do U-pick, local artisans, etc).
  6. I get to try varieties I can’t find in the grocery store.
  7. This is helping me meet one of my annual goals!

This week, I checked out a small farmer’s market that was new to me – the South Durham (or SoDu) Farmer’s Market. I must be living under a rock, because I just found out about this market and it’s just up the road from us! 

This market is a hidden gem! I love that it’s a small market, parking is easy peasey, and it still has everything I could possible need – baked goods, seafood, handmade soaps, ciders, cheeses, meats, and produce. They even have a homemade pasta vendor! It’s held in a parking lot that also contains a DMV license plate office, which I ironically had to visit just a few weeks ago. Let’s just say, I’d much rather be shopping than waiting in line at the DMV.

 

Is it just me or do you ever feel intimidated by farmer’s markets? I frequently get flustered and overwhelmed by all the variety and abundance around me and often just end up purchasing whatever catches my eye. Usually, that means I come home with whatever vegetables or fruits are front and center in the displays.

What I really enjoyed about this farmer’s market was that many of the vendors had chalkboards out front with a list of their offerings. That gave me a better idea of what was for sale and lessened the pressure/feeling guilted into buying something just because I approached a booth. This week, I challenged myself to get something other than fruits and vegetables, so here’s what I got. I was super pleased!

 

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms from Haw River Mushrooms

Lions Mane Mushroom

Lions Mane Mushroom (picture from https://ramblecreekfarm.com/store/product/lions-mane-mushroom-fresh)

I know what you’re thinking… that mushroom looks alien. That’s what I thought, too! At the suggestion of their super friendly employee, Fran, I tried these because she said they taste like crab meat. Jonah is a huge crab cake fan but hates mushrooms, so I did the ol’ switcheroo to see if he could tell the difference. Guess what? He couldn’t! I used this recipe from Aubrey’s Kitchen and they turned out great! Also, I had a lovely conversation with Fran about her time living in Washington state and found out that we have a mutual love of Mt. Ranier National Park.

Chopped Lion's Mane Mushroom

Chopped up it doesn’t look so bad, does it?

 

Peaches fromKen Chappell’s Peaches and Apples

Hallelujer! Fresh peach season is here. There’s really no point in eating peaches out of season. These are so delicious and perfectly ripe right now.

Hallelujer Madea

Peaches

 

“Field of Creams” Goat Cheese fromProdigal Farm

I love the mission of this local goat dairy. They really treat their animals well. They have a punchcard program for $10 of free cheese once you get 10 punches (one punch for every $10 spent). For this dairy lover, that’s a pretty great deal. Plus, I give them extra points for creativity in naming their cheeses!

"Field of Creams" Goat Cheese from Prodigal Farm

“Field of Creams” Goat Cheese from Prodigal Farm

Field of Dreams Meme - if you build it the memes will come.

 

Pastries fromNinth Street Bakery

Ummm, I didn’t get pictures of these because Jonah, the kids, and I demolished them! We really enjoy this great, local bakery. This time, we got two cinnamon rolls, a morning bun, and a bear claw. YUM! Here’s a drool-worthy picture of them from their website. 

Cinnamon Rolls from Ninth Street Bakery

Cinnamon Rolls from Ninth Street Bakery

I really enjoyed my visit to the SoDu Farmer’s Market and plan to go back soon to get some seafood, eggs, and meat! Do you have a recommendation of other farmer’s markets I should try? Drop it below in the comments so I can visit and report back.

SoDu Farmer's Market

SoDu Farmer’s Market is located at Greenwood Commons Shopping Center: 5410 NC-55, Durham, NC 27713. Open 8am-12pm every Saturday, year round.

 

Leave a comment