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10 Aug

Cucumbers are one vegetable that both girls LOOOVE to eat.  Having some ranch on hand doesn’t hurt either.  They have always loved them- peeled or not.

We lifted a big leaf from the cucumber plant yesterday and to our surprise discovered this ready-to-eat cucumber.

Here is one on it’s way to greatness:

It is amazing how different things taste coming from our garden than from the store.  There is no waxy substance, no hidden bruises, no bitterness.

Aleah was quite excited and carried the cucumber around the house like a baby.

We have a few that are almost ready to pick, can’t wait to eat them.  I love the meals that come from our garden.

Front Yard Jungle

8 Aug

The front of our house has an area for a garden.  Now that the sunflowers are almost blooming they are towering over everything.  It is making the front of our house look like a jungle.

Packs of flower seeds were on sale at our local dollar store early this spring so I bought a lot of them.

I dug two rows along the path of the walkway into our house.  And planted a mixture of all those seed packages.  Sounds like a great idea, right?  Well for the first month or so I have NO idea what was a weed or what was a flower I wanted to keep.  I guess it did end up working out because now the garden is exploding with beautiful flowers.

I love pulling up in the car and walking along the path into the house.  It is so happy and inviting.

Raspberry Picking

6 Aug

We have raspberry bushes surrounding our house and at least once a day we head out to check and see if there are any more ripe berries.

I love this picture because Aleah and Jared and bending over in the same way, like father- like daughter.

Sorry I left y’all hanging for a week, I have internet access again.  Thanks for sticking with me!

Sweet Peas, the delicious ending

22 Jul

After all Aleah’s hard work, she finally gets to enjoy them!

A delicious treat is waiting whenever we go outside.


Good job Aleah

I am so proud of my little gardener

Make the Most of your Compost

14 Jul

Caitlyn mentioned a few posts ago about the gleeful wonder we experience each year when reminded that gardening actually works!  There’s something remarkable when seeds, sun, and soil miraculously add delightful things to our dinner table.  It’s a childlike joy I hope we never grow out of.

In the same way, I have become obsessively fond of the miracle involved in composting.  I have yet to become tired of watching my coffee grounds and cucumber peels (and lots of other stuff) magically transform themselves into dark, rich, organic compost.  If the idea of compost is lost on you then before you read any further, check out this older post I did for our friend over at ittybittyimpact a few years ago.

Anyway, if you’ve tried your hand at composting and are now looking for ways to use that black gold, here’s what I’ve been up to:

First, when we transplanted our peppers and tomatoes into the garden, I carried a bucketful of compost from the bottom of my bin (this is where the darkest, most decomposed matter can be found) and mixed several handfuls of  compost to the subsoil around the roots of the plant as I set them in the garden.  The compost then functions as a fertilizer, adding nutrient rich matter to the dirt around the plants.  The compost also provides and retains moisture so the soil around the plants doesn’t dry out.

Notice the little “gardener” snake enjoying itself

Then, just last night I filled my bucket again with piles of stinky, succulent compost, but this time, rather than adding the compost beneath the soil I simply piled the compost around the base of the plants as mulch.  This is an important technique as the growing season progresses because the top layer of soil can get quite dry and hard in the dog days of summer, but the compost helps retain moisture and keeps water from simply beading and running off the dry ground around the plant base.  The compost also minimizes erosion around the plants and gradually releases nutrients into the soil like fertilizer.

Compost is dirty.  It sometimes stinks a little like poo.  It is made out of rotten food.

But it has somehow become one of my favorite things about gardening, and I’m tickled by the idea that my jalapenos and tomatoes are being fed by the scraps of things that once fed me.  And will soon feed me again.

Salad Greens

11 Jul

Our garden is cranking out lettuce, kale, chard and arugula like there is no tomorrow.  We have a salad almost everyday and have been passing it out as fast as we can.  I love how salad keeps coming all summer.

Here are a few of the delicious dinners we have been enjoying.

There is nothing better than oil and vinegar to accentuate the flavor of the leaves.

Berries for Winter

5 Jul

I love strawberries.

Right off the plant they are juicy, perfectly ripe and delicious.

I believe I have almost 30 pounds in my freezer right now.  Why so much? you might ask.  And I would have to say it might not be enough =)

but the reason I need to have loads of strawberries in my freezer is so that I can make it through the long winter.  For some reason if I have strawberries to last me a winter I can survive.  Taking a bag of strawberries out of the freezer on a cold and blustery day in the dead of winter is a pretty good feeling.

The only thing I do to the berries is wash them, hull them and cut them in half (or a few pieces if they are a big berry).  For some of them I let sit for a while to let them soak in their own juice and others I put into the freezer right away.  Here is my berry preparation setup:

How beautiful is this-

Jared is quite excited because I made a lot of compost for him: