Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Best Gardening Assistant

Meet Sophia, my best gardening Buddy.  Sophia has been gardening with me since shortly before her 3rd birthday.  In the photo on the left, she is inspecting the new raised bed we put in this year.  We had so much fun with the original bed, we wanted to expand this year!  Sophia is very serious about our gardening, and she reminds her mother and grandmother every Saturday morning that she needs to come over to garden.  You can tell how serious she is by those fabulous gardening Wellies she's sporting!  In the photo on the right, she is showing off how well our grape tomatoes are doing in that same bed.
When I asked Sophia what her favorite part of gardening is, she said it was the planting.  Don't get her wrong, she loves watering the gardens, and enjoys harvesting too, but like me, she loves getting her hands in the dirt, planting the seeds and seedlings, and finding bugs, and determining if they are good bugs or bad bugs for our garden.  We had loads of fun this spring finding worms to put into our new garden bed.  We found one that was at least 8 inches long, and chubby as he could be.  Sophia likes worms, lady bugs and butterflies.  She doesn't like bees, but she understands how important they are for our plants.

Here's another shot of Sophia (with her Great Uncle Vito - my second best gardening buddy) harvesting zucchini this morning from our new bed.  She is not particularly fond of eating vegetables.  I had hoped she might be willing to try some of the ones she grew, but right now she would much rather give her crops away than eat them, and her parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles are always delighted to get some delicious treats from Sophia.  She might not like many vegetables, but she loves fruit, so this year we planted strawberries, blueberries, melons and pumpkins.  Sophia is delighted each week when she can pick a few strawberries.  She and her Uncle Vito enjoy them very much!  We can't wait until next year when they spread, and we get even more strawberries.

Sophia and I wanted to share a fun project we've done with our pumpkins.  A few weeks ago we carved Sophia and her baby cousin Owen's names into the skin of two of the pumpkins, and we are having fun watching how their names are getting bigger as the pumpkins grow.  Here is a picture of Sophia standing in her strawberry patch pointing out the pumpkin with her name on it, and a shot of Owen's pumpkin. 

Sophia and I enjoy working and playing hard in the gardens, and we would love to hear some of the things others who garden with young children do in the gardens to help make it a magical experience for the kids!

The day I have been waiting for since March

After being in New York for the past week, I returned to a somewhat unruly garden with so many things that were ready to harvest. I'll admit I was getting a little discouraged by the garden because although everything was getting bigger, pretty much the only things we have been able to harvest were radishes, lettuce, spinach, kale and chard. I grew some of those because people said they were easy to grow, not really because I actually like eating them. In fact, part of the reason, we didn't get a CSA share this year, was because in the past we'd gotten so much kale and chard each week that I had come to dread searching for new ways to use those ingredients. Today was the day I have been dreaming about since March; harvesting things I actually like to eat. First I dug up our potatoes. It was so satisfying to dig through the dirt and find all of the potatoes under there. Unlike so many of the things that grow above the ground in the garden where you can actually see the progress, there was no way for me to know if the potatoes were going to be a success or not. Even the beets and radishes have given me some kind of indication on how they are doing as they peek through the top of the soil. But potatoes were a leap of faith and I was so happy to find about 30 regular sized red bliss potatoes and some smaller ones. Somehow in my head there would only be six potatoes since that is how many eyes I had put in the ground. Remember, this is my first foray into gardening. While I was weeding, I also noticed some of the beets were ready to harvest as well as some calendula flowers, cherry tomatoes and blackberries. I cut some basil, tarragon and kale because I had some time this afternoon to prep them for our winter kitchen. It may sound ridiculous, but I am most excited about the potatoes. If you know me, you know I love potato. If you ask my kids what they are most excited about, I am pretty sure they will say the blackberries!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Calling all backyard gardeners

It's the height of the summer growing season, and I (and I hope others) are interested in how everyone's garden is growing. I realize everyone is busy, and blogging may not fit into your schedule, or maybe you are too shy to post. I would love to start a weekly spot here at My Backyard Grows featuring local backyard gardners, big and small, to share successes, failures, tips, and questions. I Am looking to visit you, at your convenience, ask a few questions, maybe take a picture or two of your garden, and share your experience with other like minded folk here on the blog. Please email me at mkmh978@gmail.com if you are willing to help me out. Look for my first featured gardener here this Sunday!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fruits of my labor

Today's havest, washed and ready to eat!   Been busy this summer, and I haven't had much chance to post, but my little backyard here in Downtown Gloucester is thriving.  This is the end of the lettuce and pea pods, but the beans and onions are in their prime, and the cukes and tomatoes are just starting to produce.  The tomatoes are loving the heat this summer, and we have lots and lots of tomatoes coming in a few weeks!  We've been eating zucchini for weeks,  still plenty growing, just none harvested today.  Pepper plants are small, but flowering, so we're hoping for the best!  Going to plant more lettuce, spinach and beans this week!  I love gardening season!!!