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An Evening in the Garden with my Children


It was a good day last Wednesday.  I was exhausted that morning due to bad discretion on my part about bed time.  But 2 out of 3 kids were up early (7am is early for us), ate cereal on their own and KB started on her school work.  Self starting days are almost always a good day.  She was motivated to get it done. Got to love that!

We ended the day with gardening.  I sent the neighborhood kids home and made my kids come to the backyard to help me because I knew they would have complained later that they didn’t get to.  Sometimes you just gotta take the lead and make them do things.  They may just thank you for it later.  Otherwise, they may never think of it themselves.  They’re kids!  Man, blessing upon blessing, these kids.  They never complained the whole time.  They pulled weeds and helped me dig trenches in the garden bed.  They helped me for about an hour and it was no easy task.  They were digging dirt like champs.

We were digging dirt and digging trenches for bins that I’m using as containers.  I’m container gardening this year.  I had the usual flat area we dug up 3 summers ago.  I wanted a change and try something new.  For reasons I’m not sure of  because I’m still an amateur, my crops as a whole have not yielded well.  My kale has always done well.  They pumpkins were a hit too.  But even the easiest to grow like peas and tomatoes, have not done well.  Just small yields.

Anyway, this note is more about the joy and cheerfulness that my kids worked with tonight.  They laughed.  The goofed.  They chattered about how they could team-work, like suggesting this and that to each other without fighting.  Now that’s a praise in itself.  They chattered on and on.  It was all so heartwarming to watch the bonding time between my kids.  They alternated shovels till the end.  They commented on how fun it was to help me garden; how they wanted to work hard and be helpful and they were willing to work into the dark night.  Well, we went pretty close.  It was close to 9pm by the time we went to wash up.  My sweet KB even thanked me for giving them the opportunity to garden.  What??!  I am so undeserving of such wonderful kids.  I mean, sure, they are imperfect and have their moments, but they are such good kids.  However imperfect I am, they are unconditional lovers of my motherhood.  Hallelujah to my Savior.  Again, I was a happy mama.  Love them kids.

Planting from Seeds


After the first year I started gardening, which was 3 summers ago now, I said I would never start seedlings indoors again.  Well, my gardener’s fingers could not resist, again.  I’m so weak!!

So, I started seeds indoors.  I just planted tomatoes, bell peppers, one cup of spicy peppers, and basil.  The first time, I used old soil from last year and apparently it was ‘dirty’ or infested.  The gnats came quickly.  I also planted cilantro that didn’t survive.  So, fed up with the gnat infestation, I set out and bought new soil.  It did well for the first few weeks.  But the gnats are back!!  What the ….!!!  I’m not about to try and baked all that soil and replant.  I’m just not that determined.  I’ve read and read on how to rid these blasted gnaggets and I’ve failed each year.  I succeeded with repotting my houseplants with new soil for the same problem and it worked for all 15 or so plants in my house.  I think it’s because seedlings have to be kept moist all the time.  But I didn’t have gnat problems my first year of seeding indoors?!  I don’t know what the deal is.  Anyway, sorry for that tangent.  Not the point, but part of the story nonetheless.

The other thing is, it’s taking a pretty long time for these buggers to grow in the brown supposedly good-for-plant-and-environment starter pots (right pic).  Well, it ain’t working so well for me.  You know what’s working better?  The environmentally unfriendly, clear, plastic cup (left pic).  The other plastic cup has spicy pepper blend that is not growing as well (to the left of the left pic, with little growth).  Go figure.

I had these starts under the lamp from day one.  I even started the one in the plastic cup after planting in the brown cells and it sprouted and is growing much better.   The tomato starts in the plastic cup has been on my window sill from day one.  I’m not sure how much of a difference that makes.  I tried to grow herbs in hanging pots in my kitchen window last year and they never survived.  I’m never sure what’s going on.  I’ve read and read and I can’t quite fully figure out all my problems, and I’ve always got some.  I figure it’s all part of this cursed land so I move on.

I moved half the starts to the window last week after seeing the plastic cup seeds grow so well.  They are growing a little better in the brown cells but not so impressively.  I planted these seeds almost 2 months ago.  They should be way bigger, right??

Well, every year I search and search, trying to think up new gardening ideas.  So many great ideas but I have a hard time spending lots of money on stuff/supplies that will not survive the year.  Call me cheap.  I prefer frugal, practical, economical, or sensical.  I’ll let you choose.  This year I’m going to try vertical gardening!!  Hopefully I’ll make it back with good things to report.  Happy gardening!!

Categories: Gardening, Homemaking

Window Herb Garden- My Newest Addition


My ventures in gardening continues.  My mind doesn’t seem to stop.  I seem to always be thinking about what I can create next.  Sometimes I get in over my head.  Thankfully, this time, the task was not beyond me.  It took a few days to come up with the plan, and finally today, it has come to fruition.

I like to make use of the nooks and crannies of spaces to utilize dead space in a creative way, though I don’t feel the same about big spaces.  Ever since we moved into this house that we’ve now lived in for almost 3 years (I can’t even believe the time!), and being the hand-dishwasher that I am (yes, I do have a dishwasher. I know, I know – weird!), and the nice window to look out at the sink, I have often wondered how I could use the sides of the cabinets and the window space better.  And now I have it!

This is all I used to make this project, aside from the little red bins.

supplies I used, aside from the little red bins

All I did was weave the rope (I know it’s actually called something else but slipped my mind) through the wires inside the bin in a way that balances the box.  Then just tied it in a knot.

I bought a bunch of the wire thingy last year and used it as borders for other garden projects I did but changed course so here they are, re-purposed!   The hooks you see at the top were straight since it’s supposed to just stick in the ground.  All I did was bend them into a curve using pliers.

This is what it looks like inside the box.

Here is the end result.  It took all but maybe 20 minutes (and that’s with 9 fingers! so it might take less with 2 working thumbs!).  I planted seeds of basil (lots and lots of it as it freezes well), parsley, dill, and chives.  I’m thinking of adding some strawberries.  I’m excited to see how (well, I hope!) everything will grow.

I made one for each side of the window.  I got everything at the local Dollartree.  It cost me a full about $9 for both racks, not including the dirt (cheap! pun intended 🙂 and seeds (6pks/$1).  Now that’s my kind of budget! 

The planter in the middle is cherry tomato seeds.  Another experiment.  We’ll see what happens with those!

Cooking with herbs in any other form just doesn’t compare with fresh!

Four seasons of Joy


I grew up on the east coast.  I’ve moved up and down and all around.  No, we were not a military family.  As a child, we don’t usually make great observations or distinctions of the place(s) we live.  Now as an adult, having lived in many parts of the country, I’ve come to appreciate many things about our environment, namely the four seasons.

Before I moved to California, you know how you watch the movies and the tv shows (at least as a kid), how they paint California to be the best place in the country.  When I used to watch (sadly and weirdly- waaaay long ago) 90210, when there was a Christmas episode or winter one, I used to think how weird it was to see them outside with just a sweater or sweatshirt in dead winter.  You can’t get away with that on the east coast.  I guess for some, that’s a great thing.  So when I moved to California some odd years ago after graduating college, I soon learned how much I liked the four seasons, including the snow in winter, especially on Christmas day.  So every Christmas that came the short while I lived in Cali, was a bit weird, and void, of that wintry brisk feeling of cold.  I know, I’m weird.   The first time I saw snow in Cali was when we went to the mountains, Big Bear, excitedly I eagerly awaited as we journeyed up to the top, only to find a snow spitting out from a machine for tubers.  “Those snow machines are real!?” I thought.

We live in Idaho now, and though we don’t get quite the snow the east gets, at least we get some, and it’s real.  The first  year we lived here I was told that we get a white Christmas about every 7 years and we weren’t due for one for about that.  To my joy, we had a white Christmas the first year we moved here.  I can’t say that God did it for me, but I sure am thankful that it came to pass, as I so enjoyed it.

This summer I ventured upon gardening for the first time.  The weather has been a bit off.  My crops are not tremendous but it’s been a learning and growing experience for sure.  The tomato plants are still alive. Some are bearing fruit.  The peas did the best, though not that great.  The berry bushes started bearing fruit until I moved them off the back patio.  I recently put them in the ground.  They are still alive but no fruit anymore.  We’ll have to see what next year holds.  It’s been sweet to watch my little Lexi’s enjoyment in checking the peas each day and picking what she can find.  Then she actually ate them.  That by itself was rewarding to experience.

OH the Fall has got to be my fav.  The brisk breezes.  The pretty changing leaves.  I call it the sweatshirt- and- jeans season.  The spring has it’s joys too- namely the blossoming of the earth.  The summer- if I can get away from the heat, I’m good.  I do love water play though.

In all of it, I thank the Lord that each has it’s purpose, and that it’s good.

The ‘green’ count


We’ve lived in our current house for 2 yrs now.  I still can’t believe it.  I keep thinking, “oh, only a year ago…”  But reality sets in and yes, 2 years have come and quickly gone.

So last year, our collection of landscape plants started with clearance items from Lowe’s (great deals)- approximately 14 plants consisting of bushes and flowers in the front yard; 3 trees added in the backyard, 2 of which were free from dear friends & 1 apple tree my husband bought me as a sentimental gift (aww).  These weren’t all added at once, mind you.  They were bought in random spurts as the deals were discovered.  I’m talking $2-$3/bush or flower pot.  Deals!  I usually buy from Lowe’s b/c of their 1-year guarantee.  I’ve returned several plants that have died and no questions asked.  Awesome!

So this year, we’ve added an approximately 8×14 vegetable garden,2 berry bushes, a nectarine & another apple tree (honeycrisp-yum!), a couple more bushes (yes, Lowe’s clearance), strawberries and flowers.  It’s been a developing year for the greens on our property.  When I write it all out, seems like a lot.  But when I step outside, doesn’t seem like that much.  Still trying to figure out where I want to put my berry supply since they need room to roam.

Well, it’s been an exciting start to the gardening experience and harvest so far.  Though I’m not looking forward to the growing heat, I am thankful for and look forward to the harvest (hopefully).  Praise the Lord, oh my soul.

(if I were a really good savvy blogger, I’d post some pics and videos. But obviously I’m not there yet.)  🙂

Categories: Gardening

Our first strawberry harvest


I know this may not be so exciting for all you of you, but to us as new gardeners, enjoying our little beginner’s harvest is a joyful treat.  Today I am babysitting 2 other kids and they, along with my girls, got to try our first 2 ripened strawberries. They were small relatively small but it kind of felt like the infamous 5 fish and 2 loves of bread, as each of us got a taste and were satisfied. Not as miraculous a story, but thankfully, we had lunch before that. 😉

The strawberry plants are growing and spreading like weeds (thankfully they aren’t that).  I’ve been replanting about all the runners I can but I currently have them in pots until I can figure out where in the yard I can put them so they can flourish like the jungle plants they are.  How exciting!

Categories: Gardening

Many peas in our pods


Yesterday was the first time I noticed we had peas growing in our garden.  Not the vines, but the actual vegetable (or fruit, if you wish).  I thought there was only one.  I urged 🙂  my family to come out and see the “1” I found.  To my surprise, I found there were more.  I have a LOT of pea plants planted.  So this is just the beginning.  I planted a few varieties including the sugar snap and the original peas.  I love harvesting the fruits of my labor.  What a joyous reward the Lord gives.  The learning experience has been a great one too.  I encourage you all to try it, even if you just start with a container garden on a deck or patio.  It can work!