Beautiful Blooms – July 31st

It has been raining pretty heavily and our blooms have taken a beating!  But the girls did manage to capture a few gorgeous flowers over the past 10 days to make Mama smile through the rain drops!

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” ~Mulan

End of the Month Veggie Garden Photo Tour – July

July has been an interesting month in our gardens – first we had too much sun, then too much rain.  Visitors in search of broccoli and greens in the form of furry foes followed by the slugs that we had so luckily avoided all spring have kept us on our toes, but we persevere! We are now harvesting more than we can eat and the soup production, pesto freezing and jam making has begun for the winter.  We have bought a few tomatoes to hold us over until ours have ripened (soon!), but other than those, we have not purchased any other vegetables since May 24th!  I have always been envious of other gardner’s abundances of zucchini as I have had poor luck with it.  This year is the opposite!  Starting the seeds in black film under plastic hoops has proved to be more than a spectacular success – I am picking 4-6 per day and they are doubling in size daily!!  I will have a freezer full of baking at this rate! Thanks to the straw, cardboard and black film, weeding has been minimal.  I don’t think I have spent more than 6 hours all season and for that I am very grateful. Planting continues in dribs and drabs as early crops finish up.  The lettuce couldn’t handle the 30+ degrees during the day, nor could the spinach. So off to the compost pile it went and in their places more beans, beets, carrots and radish went in – it is a great way to succession plant! August will see more picking, very little planting and hopefully not a lot of weeding!!  We have high hopes for our tomatoes and beans and we can’t wait to pull fresh potatoes.  We are also looking forward to lots of blueberries and our first ever pickings of hardy kiwi. Here’s to July and high hopes for August!!

For more beautiful veggie garden updates, head on over the Garden Share Collective!

Picked and Planted – July 15 – 23

This week we picked:

Our first Black Beauty zucchinis and the last of the garlic scapes and spinach

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Lots of fresh basil!!  Mmmmmmm…..time for basil pesto!

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The first raspberries are ready for picking, we are hoping for a good crop this year provided the rain stops and we get a few good hot days again.  We managed to pick a pint before the heavy rain came today.

My little hands also found one ripe blueberry, of course it had to be picked!

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We continue to have an abundance of Sugar Sprint and Oregon Snow peas, chard, kale, lettuce, herbs and onions.

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For good measure, we added some edible pansies to birthday cupcakes – a little something extra!

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Next on base for this coming week – maybe some Sunstripe summer squash, new potatoes, carrots and the first of the bush beans?

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Approx savings compared to local market: $51.31

Total weight picked this week: 8.12 pounds

This week we planted:

Succession planting of fall seedlings has started in trays on the front porch – as early veggies start to bolt we will leave some to go to seed but most will be pulled out and replanted with seedlings for a smaller fall crop and a few for overwintering.  This week I direct seeding Scarlett Nantes and Napoli carrots where there was lettuce and bush beans where the spinach finished.  We also planted more Gypsy and Munchkin broccoli in cells after Mr. Nibbles took care of the first batch, Romaine and Buttercrunch lettuces and Ragged Jack and Dinosaur Kale.  The porch is shady so hopefully it will be cool enough to keep these from bolting too early; if it gets too hot I will have to turn on the lights and bring the trays inside until late summer.  Fingers crossed!

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“When God blesses the harvest, there is enough for the their as well as the gardner.” ~ Polish Proverb

Face to face with the Nefarious Mr. Nibbles

The day after I came face to face with the Nefarious Mr. Nibbles, the girls discovered his secret hide-away under the shed as he (or she) poked his nibbly little face out of the hole to seek out and destroy new tasty treats.  Tuesday was the sunflower bed under the bird feeders. Thankfully they were not prized plants, simply sunflowers that had grown opportunistically after falling-out of the feeders or perhaps after being dropped by a bird in flight. We watched as he poked his head out, looked around, clambered out and stretched.  He then stood on his back paws, reached up and grabbed a stalk, pulled it down and decimated it!  I had no idea ground hogs (aka wood chucks) had opposable thumbs!  I have to admit, he is pretty cute…did I just say that?!?!  After taking some pictures and videos, the girls proceeded to stand on the deck and play big red sports horns and trumpets to scare him away.  I haven’t seen him since yesterday morning, perhaps the noise was too much…time will tell.

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See the large sunflower to the front right?  It is history now…

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Grrrrrrrrrr…..We have a video as well, I couldn’t figure out how to load it here, but it is on our Nova Scotia Roots Facebook page if you’d like to see him taunting me in the flesh!

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And to top off the day, look who we found caught in the garden?  The Persistent Peter Radish!! He Guest starred in my daughter’s last Wildlife Wednesday post.  I thought the fence was supposed to keep our furry friends out, not in!!

“But Peter, who was VERY naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate.” ~ Beatrix Potter

Not cool, Mr Nibbles!

We are under attack!  The broccoli has been decimated, the carrot tops reduced to less than a third of their former glory, some of the kale taken down a peg and the new back row veggies and cosmos nibbled to the nubs.

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We had blamed it on slugs, squirrels, bunnies, deer…and I am sure they all earned their share of the blame (the deer did get in one night when I forgot to plug in the electric fence for only 2 hours and I did see a squirrel scurry across the yard with a strawberry…) However, I have met my nemesis.  Stared him down, face to face. Face to snout?  Face to sniffer? Face to…nibbler.  Yes, nibbler…

There were no tell tale tunnels or trotter prints, no scat to identify. Imagine my surprise on Friday afternoon when I was picking some peas and salad fixings for a weekend road trip when I looked at the wood line and saw a big old, roly poly GROUND HOG staring right at me.  He looked irritated that I would be in HIS garden.  His little nibbler was wiggling away as though he was taunting me! I think he knew we were leaving for the weekend and was challenging me. “I dare you to walk away, you know I am going to stroll right in there and eat my fat little belly full!!! Buahahahahahahaha!!”  At least I am pretty sure that was what the maniacal little bugger was thinking.

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Sure enough, I arrived home this afternoon and went out to pick some cilantro for my dinner’s rice and witnessed the carnage. There was only 1 head of broccoli left in the patches of about 20 plants.  He appeared to have trampled and sampled the peas, dined on some carrot tops, followed up with a treat of Romaine lettuce and finally, kale for dessert. Only one kale plant was touched – he must have felt that it was a fairly vile weed, as do my kids. Apparently I need to up my defences.

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Being a Sunday, I did not have many options – even if I did shop on Sundays, nothing was open.  I don’t want to actually hurt him (although a punch in his saucy little nibbler would be quite satisfying, I imagine…).  I had a 50 foot roll of chicken wire that we had purchased last year in a well meaning moment to construct a rabbit fence but never got around to it.  I also had some bamboo and plastic stakes and a few tent pegs.  Inadequate, at best, but better than nothing!

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I managed to get the stakes in and the chicken wire rigged up along the back of the garden where the worst of the damage was done, though I will definitely have to do a better job and find some more fencing for the sides of the garden. It is really tough to maneuver chicken wire and stakes in the rain by yourself.  I threw some extra netting over the last of the broccoli and cauliflower with a little prayer.  Hopefully it will deter Mr Nibbler for a few days until I find a chance to do a better job. I wonder if I can electrify it with the electric fence charger?!  Sigh…..

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Thankfully, I have Strawberry shortcake to make it all better, at least for tonight!

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“You’ve only got 3 choices, give up, give in or give it all you got!” ~ Mumsjugglingact,com

Picked and Planted – 6 July to 14 July

This week we picked:

Sugar Snap and Oregon Giant Snow peas – over 6 litres of them!!

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Baby Beets and Market Express Turnip

Red and Spanish Onion

Early broccoli (it started to bolt before the heads got big so we ate it anyways!)

Garlic Scapes

Rhubarb

Kale, Swiss Chard, Lettuce

Herbs – Chives, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, Basil, Mint

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We picked the last of the Strawberries and Haskaps (single tear…they will be missed!)

We also tried some edible flowers – the Lavender is wonderful as a tea, the nasturtium was not a taste I enjoyed and I am still not sure about Calundula petals…..

Approx savings compared to local market: $98.35 (Total $435.25 since 26 May)

Total weight picked this week: 15.11 pounds (Total since 26 May – 79.42 pounds, which is more than my wee girl weighs!)

This week we planted:

A few extra Marketmore 76 cucumbers to fill some gaps

Replanted Laurentian Turnip for the fall because the pheasants ate all of the seedlings….

From our garden to yours, have a great week!

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“It might take a year, it might take a day, but what is meant to be will always find it’s way” ~Unknown

Day Maker – July 11th

We had a photo shoot this weekend!  Yes, a real, live, garden photo shoot with real, live professional photographers, Riley Smith and Meghan Whiten!  The girls and I got to dress up in our best gardening clothes, don our floppy hats, pick some veggies and strike a pose…or 20…!  The girls thought it was amazing, especially getting to meet 2 lovely people who make a living from taking pictures.  My oldest had a lot of questions and my wee girl, well, she showed up with flowers in her hair and a whole lot of sass (the good kind!) What a ham she is.

Why? Well, Money Sense magazine is doing an article featuring our backyard veggie garden after they saw our little blog posts “Picked and Planted” later this summer (thanks to Niki Jabbour for telling them about us!!).  They were quite interested in how much could be saved in produce bills by growing our own veggies and getting our children involved in the process. I have to say that I am truly amazed at the interest people have shown in the garden and our blog, it is quite the adventure we have had so far!  We are certainly never going to be rich from giving free interviews but the experiences the girls are having truly are priceless (and how cool will it be when the magazine arrives in the mail with their picture on it – I dare say it may be the best “What I did this summer story” EVER!!)

So a big thanks to Julie Cazzin from Money Sense for noticing us, Niki Jabbour for spreading the word about our blogging project, Megan from Bloom Greenhouse for helping my wee girl pick out the best gardening shoes for me ever and, of course, to Riley and Meghan for the super fun morning in the back yard!  Who knows what adventure we will have next?  Oh wait…we need to pick peas and weed again – do they count as adventures?! Watch for the article to come out later this summer – our secret identities may not be so secret anymore….

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Beautiful Blooms – July 12th

This week has provided my budding photographers with many opportunities to play with the camera, so many beautiful plants are blooming.  I added a few interesting studies of bark that my older daughter took, there is a certain beauty that is exposed when shot close up through the eyes of a child. And of course, what gallery would be complete without some coleus and butterfly shots taken by my wee girl! What a lovely time of year to just sit and soak in the sun, the smells and the scenery!

To see more beautiful blooms, head over to May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!!

Tree Following – My wee girl’s Magnolia in July

Hi everybody, this is my tree in July!  Hope you like it, I took the pictures all by myself!

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My tree is happy this month, can’t you see?!

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This is a white flower, isn’t it pretty?  Can you see the brown flower? This is what it looks like when it is dried out.

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The spiky thing is the bud when the flower is all done, it is weird isn’t it?

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These are it’s leaves, they are happy and they are pretty.

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This is it’s bark. I don’t know what the little dots on it are.

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This is it’s beautiful flower, it makes me smile!  do you like the red in it?

See you next month!

Picked and Planted June 24th – July 5th

This week (plus a bit) we picked:

Over 2 and a half pounds of Haskap Berries – a few were still on the tart side – we couldn’t wait! Plus many, many samples – I don’t think my wee girl is going to let us pick any decent amount to bake with this year (although I did manage to get a batch of haskap lemon drop scones and a haskap shortcake made!) These sell for a minimum of $15.00 per pound – they win the prize for most lucrative pick of the week.

Strawberries – so delicious!! I am more than dreaming of shortcake…we have been getting our fill! Unfortunately, so have the squirrels…

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Sugar Sprint Snap peas and Oregon Giant Snow peas are here – so delicious right off the vine.

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Chocolate, berry and mojito mints, lemon balm and lavender have been supplying me and my two busy bees with herbal teas and a good reason to sit still and enjoy a few minutes on the patio watching the birds.

 

We continue to pick all the greens, turnips, radishes and herbs from last week that our bellies could hold!!

Approx savings compared to local market: $103.18!!!

Total weight picked this week: 10.81 pounds

This week we planted:

Succession planting of Mouse Melons aka cucamelons – it was too wet and they did not germinate…

Marketmore 76 and Burpless string cucumbers – second planting

Watermelon seedlings – unsure of type – they called to us at the market!

Royal Burgundy beans, second planting

Beets – Chioggia, Taunus, Early Wonder and Detroit Red Supreme, second planting

Napoli and Sweetness II Carrots, second planting

Laurentian Turnip (winter storage variety of Rutabaga)

Cherry Belle radish, second planting – it has been so cold and wet that they do alright!

Sugar Sprint peas, second planting

Genovese Basil and Cilantro around the peppers and tomatoes

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Maybe some tomatoes in our future?!

“One cannot think, love, sleep well if one has not dined well.” ~ Virginia Wolf