Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gardening & Grilling

 Fairies have moved in to our big tree.


I meant to post last night, but became distracted with knitting. So here is how my family spent their Friday evening.


This is Fran. Every garden needs a guard Ostrich. The massive ceramic egg is a gift from a friend of mine. We took our first ceramics class together, and when she moved to an apartment, we inherited the garden egg. 



 Three new raised beds! We have gnomes on this side of the garden.



After pulling weeds and hauling soil, Chase relaxes while dinner is grilling by blowing bubbles.


We have had a pretty good week weather wise here in the Mitten state. Gentle storms would move through overnight and leave warmer, pleasant days ahead. I took advantage of a rare week day of Steve being home on Friday and hauled him off to get soil. Earlier this week my Mom and I purchased the lumber for the raised beds and dropped it all off with my father-in-law who graciously offered to make more boxes for Chase. I was tickled that the next day he and my brother-in-law dropped them off! We now have four total 4x4 boxes and one 2x6 (I have yet to decide what to grow in that one).

Chase loves to garden. He first became interested in his own garden when we lived in South Carolina. Unfortunately we had to deal with Carolina clay and massive nests of fire ants where we lived. He was able to grow a couple of tomatoes, but any fruit would be eaten by ants. Once we moved back north, we were determined to continue gardening.

My in-laws have a beautiful, huge yard that my mother-in-law loves to toil in. She has two raised beds now along with her regular garden to play in. Chase loves to go over and help her with her own gardening (not to mention help eat the raspberries).

Last year my father-in-law made Chase one 4X4 box to start gardening in (our yard is a postage stamp in comparison and we are within the city limits). It's amazing what Chase managed to plant in that small plot: two types of corn (popcorn and pink), a green pepper plant, pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, hot peppers, and brussels sprouts. The box was overflowing with goodies (and vines!). At the end of the season we decided Chase had to have more beds to grow in. 

Steve and I hauled over 700 pounds of soil home yesterday afternoon and once Chase was home from school we all got to work. I had noticed during the winter while staring out into the back yard that the original box was crooked. It has been driving me nuts all winter and I was desperate to correct it before putting the new boxes down. The issue was that the brussels sprouts, that refused to do anything during the growing season so I left them to die out over winter, survived winter and are flourishing! (you can see them in the one picture). We ended up transferring them into a new box with plenty of room to grow. Steve and I are anxiously awaiting them to mature (Chase, on the other hand, is not). 

Chase started most of his seeds three weeks ago and has them germinating in our guest room. This weekend we're going to start all of the vine seeds and aim to plant everything into the ground in two weeks. This time last year we had our last frost and my mother-in-law had lost most of everything she had planted early. I'm waiting toward Memorial Day before anything goes outside just to be safe. Right now the only concern of everything that was started inside is keeping the cats, specifically Jessica-4, from having her own salad. 

Something else worth mentioning is that I picked up a second aloe vera plant yesterday. I discovered that my first plant smells like onions and instead of a nice clear aloe coming out from it, it's orangey in color. I have never heard of this happening and have found little information online about why it does happen. I needed the aloe the other night because on Mother's Day I sat outside during a cook-out at my in-laws and my left arm was exposed to direct sun. No, I didn't burn, but I developed a horrible rash! Apparently this is somewhat common when you have an allergy to the sun. Also seems to be working the best at calming the itch and healing the rash, but for a while there my arm looked like it was blistered and bubbly. I've stocked up on plenty of sunscreen for the season now.

I'm glad that we got the beds set up yesterday because it has been raining off and on today and is supposed to continue on for the rest of the weekend. At least this will give the soil time to settle and let the brussels sprouts get comfy in their new homes. I'm hoping that in the next couple of weeks we can tackle the renovation project of the front porch. I am looking forward to sitting outside on my porch, sipping an iced coffee, and knitting my afternoon away. 

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

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