Friday, August 06, 2010

We interrupt this quiltathon to bring you...

gardening fun.

I was trying to do the quiltathon yesterday and today along with Judy at Patchwork Times but I just can't get that into it. :( I have to finish hand sewing the binding on the baby quilt for tomorrow and that will likely be all I get done.

Yesterday we go tons of rain along with a good bit of lightening so I ended up keeping the sewing machine off for most of the day. I guess the extra baby quilts won't get done in time.

The extra rain meant the garden needed attention. This is the first year we've every really tried to grow much. A few half-hearted attempts have been made before but only a plant or two here and there. This year, dh decided to make a raised bed. It's not that big, maybe 7'x7' or so. We were REALLY slow to get the garden going. I think we started it in early-mid June. Being that we're inexperienced and weren't expecting much, I planted 7 zucchini plants, 2 or 3 cucumbers, 3 tomatoes, a pepper (only one survived being transplanted), about 8-10 corn, some radish, pumpkin and cantaloupe. Now the first attempt at planting and watering showed that the water wasn't being distributed evenly, so all of the plants were removed and the seeds (pumpkin, cantaloupe, radish and most corn) that were planted got redistributed or lost forever. After about a week the corn seeds started growing along the edge of the bed, so I planted a few more seeds because they proved at least something would grow. :) Then a few days later a pumpkin started growing on one of the dirt irrigation barriers (just mounds of dirt to hold the water in), followed a few days later by another on an adjacent mound but still in the same general plot. This plot also held the pepper and some radish seeds and baby plants. June was really dry and although we watered the garden nearly everyday, we had VERY little growth on any of the plants and figured we wouldn't get much for our efforts this year. Then July came and with it, RAIN!

It's amazing how quickly everything started growing once the rain started. We've gotten dozens of zucchini already with lots more growing. They're so productive that we have to pick them at least every other day or we get giant zucchini. The two biggest ones in the picture are about 9" long and just two days ago they little when dh brought in a zucchini big enough to give me about 3 1/2 c. of chopped filler for stir fry. The cucumbers have taken over the whole bed, wrapping their little tendrils around all the other plants. They're so bad, we decided to stake them to see if we could control their growth a bit. We've gotten a about 8 cucumbers so far but there are tons of flowers and several more growing. The pumpkins have escaped the bed and now have a bunch of baby pumpkins developing. The pumpkin plants shaded out the pepper which hasn't grown much, so we moved it up near the tomatoes. We'll have to wait and see for that one. The tomatoes have just started to really grow. There were only the smallest beginnings of tomatoes last Wednesday, but now, in just over a week, about 8 small to medium sized green plum tomatoes have appeared. I'm hoping we'll be able to pick some in the next week or two. We've even got about 5 ears of corn growing. I wouldn't have even known about the corn or tomatoes if it weren't for the rain. When dh came home last night, he told me that the corn had all fallen over. Apparently the rain and winds were so strong yesterday, that the combination was just too much for the corn. So this afternoon, I was out building up the dirt around the corn and checking up on everything else. The zucchini and cucumbers are what developed in the last two days. Everything we've grown has been grown without pesticides or fertilizers, so it feels good to be able to eat what we pick. And the saving are nice too. Just the zucchini harvest alone will save me a good bit of money since we eat a lot of zucchini, probably 3-4 lbs./week minimum.

The two oldest kids are the ones who started all this growing. They planted sunflowers and flax (M.'s experiment) and have been "competing" to see who's grows fastest/tallest/any other -est they can come up with. Now they can't wait until the can harvest the seeds. They've been plotting to take over the entire backyard with a sunflower maze created out of the seeds they harvest this year!

We now return to the regularly scheduled quiltathon. Thank you for your attention.

S.'s sunflowers
M.'s sunflowers
a picture of the garden last week, now much wilder, taller and greener after yesterday's hours of rain (mulberry and peach trees behind and to the right)
Today's harvest

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