Tag Archives: gardening

Before & After


beforeafter

 

I’ve made it to that mid-point in my gardening season. Cool weather crops are done and warm weather crops aren’t really ready yet. I do still have lettuces and of course, herbs. But that’s about it for the next few weeks.

It’s been a busy June/early July and I haven’t been able to keep up with work in the garden. Now I have a few weeks where I can put in the time and really get things fixed up. I thought it might be interesting to show you the before and after of a real life garden. Not so pretty before. But definitely worth the work for the after.

This self seeded sunflower is monstrous!

This self seeded sunflower is monstrous!

Honeysuckle vine is doing well, no aphids this year. However, one of the vines did die, though the second one is so robust it's hard to even tell that one is missing this year.

Honeysuckle vine is doing well, no aphids this year. However, one of the vines did die, though the second one is so robust it’s hard to even tell that one is missing this year.

View from the deck to the back wall.

View from the deck to the back wall.

Garage side garden in a mid-season transition.

Garage side garden in a mid-season transition.

Peas are done, lots of weeds and some squash plants.

Peas are done, lots of weeds and some squash plants.

Peppers and sunflowers, some lettuce and marigolds. And weeds!

Peppers and sunflowers, some lettuce and marigolds. And weeds!

Compost bin and rhubarb.

Compost bin and rhubarb.

The back wall is a mishmash of perennials, annuals, garlic and lots of weeds. Needs a clean up.

The back wall is a mishmash of perennials, annuals, garlic and lots of weeds. Needs a clean up.

The wall lines the entire back property line of our yard.

The wall lines the entire back property line of our yard.

It's a good lettuce year! No bugs and cooler weather. This needs a major thinning. Time to eat some salad.

It’s a good lettuce year! No bugs and cooler weather. This needs a major thinning. Time to eat some salad.

Strawberries, gladiolus, a few impatiens and some straw that decided to seed itself and grow some annoying green growth. Needs a clean up and prep work for the strawberry runners that are starting to grow.

Strawberries, gladiolus, a few impatiens and some straw that decided to seed itself and grow some annoying green growth. Needs a clean up and prep work for the strawberry runners that are starting to grow.

More of the gladiolus, impatiens and strawberries.

More of the gladiolus, impatiens and strawberries.

New "Believe" rock from my sister-in-law.

New “Believe” rock from my sister-in-law.

Whoa! Okay, so this is a crazy raised bed. From this view you can see borage, garlic, onion, a volunteer lettuce, and dill. Time to harvest the garlic scapes.

Whoa! Okay, so this is a crazy raised bed. From this view you can see borage, garlic, onion, a volunteer lettuce, and dill. Time to harvest the garlic scapes.

The rest of the crazy raised bed is not quite as crazy. It's home to two very small eggplant, three kinds of kale, volunteer red orach, marigolds and Swiss chard. Things are going well here. It needs some weeding and some plant food on those sad eggplant, but I think once we have a long hot spell those will do just fine.

The rest of the crazy raised bed is not quite as crazy. It’s home to two very small eggplant, three kinds of kale, volunteer red orach, marigolds and Swiss chard. Things are going well here. It needs some weeding and some plant food on those sad eggplant, but I think once we have a long hot spell those will do just fine.

Weeds.

Weeds.

So many weeds. Raspberries are back there as well as a potted eggplant that is doing great. And the mint which is recovering from a bunny incident.

So many weeds. Raspberries are back there as well as a potted eggplant that is doing great. And the mint which is recovering from a bunny incident.

There is a rock garden under there somewhere.

There is a rock garden under there somewhere.

Herbs are doing fine. There is a ton of purslane in this raised bed that needs to be pulled, but once that is done this should be low to no maintenance for the rest of the season.

Herbs are doing fine. There is a ton of purslane in this raised bed that needs to be pulled, but once that is done this should be low to no maintenance for the rest of the season.

Beans climbing a support. Need to get my landscaping rocks back in their spots... they seem to walk off with my kids.

Beans climbing a support. Need to get my landscaping rocks back in their spots… they seem to walk off with my kids.

This area needs a clean up. That dill is good for now, but will probably be done in a few weeks.

This area needs a clean up. That dill is good for now, but will probably be done in a few weeks.

Basil is finally getting to a point where I can begin harvesting. I will plant some more in another location for later in the season.

Basil is finally getting to a point where I can begin harvesting. I will plant some more in another location for later in the season.

This is a container of carrots... and weeds.

This is a container of carrots… and weeds.

Another view of the kale, Swiss chard and orach.

Another view of the kale, Swiss chard and orach.

Overhead view shows the extent of weeds taking over the patio.

Overhead view shows the extent of weeds taking over the patio.

This side of the patio has few weeds, but still needs some work. The dill sure looks cool from this view!

This side of the patio has few weeds, but still needs some work. The dill sure looks cool from this view!

Honeysuckle and deck from above.

Honeysuckle and deck from above.

Lawn from above.

Lawn from above.

I have three tomatoes in pots this year. They look small right now and they are. But they are healthy and the weather at my house has been cool. I am confident that these will take off very soon.

I have three tomatoes in pots this year. They look small right now and they are. But they are healthy and the weather at my house has been cool. I am confident that these will take off very soon.

 

One week later, things are looking much better! Here are the after photos:

With weeds gone, the squash seems happier.

With weeds gone, the squash seems happier.

Nutterbutter squash plants are getting bigger.

Nutterbutter squash plants are getting bigger.

Cucumbers just about ready to start climbing.

Cucumbers just about ready to start climbing.

I still have plenty of lettuce here. Also peppers, sunflowers and marigolds. I've also added some basil seeds here, hoping to get a late summer crop to go with tomatoes.

I still have plenty of lettuce here. Also peppers, sunflowers and marigolds. I’ve also added some basil seeds here, hoping to get a late summer crop to go with tomatoes.

Peppers.

Peppers.

Back wall looks much nicer now with weeds gone.

Back wall looks much nicer now with weeds gone.

Pretty lillies.

Pretty lillies.

I like the color back here. And at night I can see the white flower from the house.

I like the color back here. And at night I can see the white flower from the house.

White petunias.

White petunias.

A view of the garage.

A view of the garage.

I topped off the older strawberry plants and will now let the runners go wherever they please.

I topped off the older strawberry plants and will now let the runners go wherever they please.

I "believe" the garden looks better now!

I “believe” the garden looks better now!

Weeded, but still jam packed. Soon the garlic will come out and the dill will take over.

Weeded, but still jam packed. Soon the garlic will come out and the dill will take over.

Weed free, for now. Second container of carrots moved over here.

Weed free, for now. Second container of carrots moved over here.

I love all the colors of kale, orach and chard together.

I love all the colors of kale, orach and chard together.

Swiss chard has the most beautiful leaves.

Swiss chard has the most beautiful leaves.

Raspberries are getting very tall now! We put in a support to try to keep them upright, hopefully it holds.

Raspberries are getting very tall now! We put in a support to try to keep them upright, hopefully it holds.

Pot o' eggplant.

Pot o’ eggplant.

Herb garden is in such good shape right now.

Herb garden is in such good shape right now.

There's the rock garden! I knew it was under those weeds somewhere.

There’s the rock garden! I knew it was under those weeds somewhere.

I'm very happy with my Climbing French green beans. They are perfectly ascending this support and have flowers starting on the bottom.

I’m very happy with my Climbing French green beans. They are perfectly ascending this support and have flowers starting on the bottom.

Lavender, dill and chamomile.

Lavender, dill and chamomile.

A very tall sunflower. It keeps getting taller! I will have to pull out a measuring tape soon.

A very tall sunflower. It keeps getting taller! I will have to pull out a measuring tape soon.

Tomatoes are still looking good and starting to get bigger. They are definitely behind schedule though, so at this point I'm hoping for a nice long summer.

Tomatoes are still looking good and starting to get bigger. They are definitely behind schedule though, so at this point I’m hoping for a nice long summer.

A nice place to sit.

A nice place to sit.

My happy place.

My happy place.

View of the patio garden. I did plant some nasturtiums which are supposed to rise up and meet that sun, but they are only about a foot tall right now.

View of the patio garden. I did plant some nasturtiums which are supposed to rise up and meet that sun, but they are only about a foot tall right now.

Another view of the patio garden.

Another view of the patio garden.

Another view of the deck.

Another view of the deck.

Garage garden.

Garage garden.

Garlic with scapes. The scapes are now ready for harvest and the garlic will stay in for about another month.

Garlic with scapes. The scapes are now ready for harvest and the garlic will stay in for about another month.

Overhead view of herbs and honeysuckle.

Overhead view of herbs and honeysuckle.

Overhead view of deck.

Overhead view of deck.

Patio garden.

Patio garden.

Raspberries and mint.

Raspberries and mint.

Backyard view.

Backyard view.

Overhead of raspberries, beans and nasturtium.

Overhead of raspberries, beans and nasturtium.

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Seed Catalogs


When the snow is blowing outside my window, I can usually be found with my nose in one of these:

Various seed catalogs.

January and February are the perfect time to gaze longingly into a seed catalog and dream of gardening days to come.

After all, they don’t show any pictures of weeds in the catalogs, and the veggies are all shown at their peak of summer perfection. It’s easy to imagine how glorious my own garden will be.

I also imagine how things will taste.  That luscious red tomato?  Divine.  That perky little leaf of lettuce?  Refreshing.  Those early spring peas fresh off the vine?  So sweet.

Then my mind reels with the endless possibilities of how to prepare this rainbow of bounty I’m sure to grow in my fairy tale garden.  A head of garlic?  Roasted and spread onto a baguette, sprinkled with those happy little herbs in the herb garden.  Peppers?  Grilled, peeled, thinly sliced and served on a herbed crust with fresh mozzarella.  Eggplant?  A savory eggplant parmesan in fall, but for summer?  Simply sliced and grilled with a brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Perhaps I’ll put this on my burger bun instead of the meat.  Complete it with a juicy tomato slice and life is good.

I can almost feel the sunshine on my shoulders as I tend this garden of my imagination.  Boy, does it feel good!

I gather as many seed catalogs as I can find during the winter season.  There is something special in all of them.  The quirkier ones are especially fun.  The full color ones really take me away.  I love reading them almost as much as I love reading cookbooks, but that is another post entirely!

By the end of this month I’ll be placing seed orders in preparation for starting the seeds in March.  Reality starts to set in when I have to think more practically about how many of each plant to grow, guessing how many might actually germinate and then thrive (always to my surprise) in my indoor growing environment known as the kitchen.  It becomes a numbers game and I might suffer gardener’s remorse more than once if something doesn’t work out.

But for now, on my couch with the seed catalogs, everything is gorgeous, there are no weeds and the possibilities are as endless as my imagination.