Garden Update- August

 {Whoops! I wrote this post last month and realized I never posted. Better late than never!}

The kids have affectionately started calling the garden the "Garden Jungle". And rightly so, as it literally has become a sea of overgrown green plants.

 As you may remember, I was going to experiment growing pumpkin up a trellis. Truth be told, it grew too well as it took over the entire garden. Well that and pumpkins just take up a ton of space. I recently cut it all back but took these pictures prior to that.

 My sweet potatoes decided to run a muck as well but I use sweet potatoes all the time so I don't have the heart to cut them out of my aisles. I hope I get a bunch!
(They are in the back bed in this picture)
Now you can see why garden #2 is necessary. I like to grow too many things.

Here's one of the pumpkins. They stay green and have been pretty squash bug resistant.

I planted this bed of raspberries this year and they are producing now. They really need a trellis but with the million other projects we have, we haven't built one yet.

The kids eat them as fast as they come!

Garden Update- June

Here's what the garden is looking like this month.  I've cut down most of my snap peas since it's been too hot and they've stopped flowering. I'm trying to train the winter squash up the back wall. Strawberries are about done.  We've been harvesting carrots, onions, green beans, lettuce, a few raspberries, and herbs over the past week.

 We've picked a ton of lettuce and have been eating it almost everyday but we still have some left. This bright green variety is called Slo-bolt. It's been living up to its name as our romaine has totally bolted but this stuff still looks great. It is starting to get a tad bitter though.

 Lemon squash are about to make there appearance.

 Cucumbers are almost ready too. See that one in the middle?

Garden Update - April

Spring is a busy time and there is always lots of work to be done outside. This year I'm experimenting with some new things.

 In my garden last year, the beds were 90% compost, 10% other stuff. This year, I made it roughly 40% topsoil, 10% peat moss, and 50% compost. Everything grew pretty well last year, but after some research, I'm convinced my plants may have been missing some minerals from having a lack of regular soil in there. I still need to send in a soil sample to the extension office and get it tested. I guess topsoils vary a lot in ph and nutrients. It takes 3 weeks to get back results so hopefully meanwhile what I planted will grow as long as the ph isn't too far off. I just direct seeded some lettuce so I'll see if it comes up ok. If it doesn't I'll have to buy a test from the store to make quick changes!

Before I amended my beds, I did plant a few things. They seem to be growing nicely. I hope the topsoil addition isn't a mistake!!

 Peas coming up

 I planted bare root strawberries this year. This is in the pure compost. I did add a bag of sand to the bed prior to planting because strawberries love sandy soil. I did half "cardinal" and half "ozark beauty" to see what I like better. I grew cardinal at our other house and they were great.

 My parsley self seeded :) This makes me happy!

This is outside the fenced area. I planted marshmallow root and since it's a perennial herb it's coming back. This year I'll be able to harvest some of the roots. I have plans to dry it and use it since it's suppose to help with acid reflux. It also get pretty flowers in the summer.

Soil blocker = the bomb!

When you get excited about a soil blocker, you know you are a gardening geek. I have no shame about that :) I thought I posted about my new tool last year but when I looked through my archives I realized I didn't.

The benefit of the soil blocker is little to no transplant shock since it you don't put it in a container. I love this thing. It takes some technique to get it right. I will share the big secret to getting the blocks to stay together... lots of water! You have to make sure the soil is really pretty wet and of course packed in there. There are many tutorials on you tube about how to use it.
Here the blocks are all formed. They don't have to be perfect (as you can see mine aren't!). I put in 4 broccoli seeds and the rest spinach. When I direct seed spinach in the garden it never works that great for me. So hopefully this will be better.

 After putting in the seeds, I covered the dimples? or holes or whatever you call them with vermiculite. Then watered it just a tiny bit where the vermiculite is.

Homemade seed mix

At the beginning of February, I did some research and decided to make my own seed mix this year. I normally use a soil blocker. The soil blocker takes a ton of soil since it compacts it into squares. I plan on making some this week since I need to start my broccoli and spinach seeds. So having my own mix will save lots of money.

However, for the onion seeds, I didn't bother with the soil blocker and put them into a tray. The soil will be dumped later on and they will be individually planted so no need to mess with the blocker for them. The onions were a good test to see if the mix worked.

I stayed with a sterile mixture, no compost or soil.
3 gallons peat moss (bought in a big square at lowes)
about a half gallon of vermiculite
2 Tablespoons limestone

So far so good!

I think I may need to add some kind of fertilizer once they get bigger.