Monday, April 14, 2014

Growing, Growing, Growing

Nothing much going on around here lately. I've been making up lots of Etsy orders (yay for business!), and taking care of my kiddos. We've played outside and had fun in the garden, and I've tried to keep the house in some semblance of cleanliness, even if that means having everything clean only once a week. Small victories. Pregnancy soreness in my legs and back are really setting in and making moving around not fun. I'm 34wks now so only a little longer to go! I have some house bucket list stuff that I'd like to work on to hopefully simplify life once Baby 3 makes his appearance--some cleaning, some organizing, more getting rid of clutter and things we don't need.

But on the bright and pretty side, I'm happy with how my garden is coming along this year!

My red cherry tomato plant is only about 2ft tall , but it is LOADED with blossoms and green tomatoes. The largest are the size of a big walnut and seem to still be growing. I'm very impressed with this plant so far. It set down a good root system, bushied up and has started fruiting rather quickly. My collards are getting bigger and I can't wait to start plucking those leaves for steaming. They should be great in my green smoothies once I start trying to get rid of the baby weight in another month or so. My Super Sweet 100 tomato has gone from being a two leaf seedling to a quickly growing plant in the last month. I expect it will be another month before it starts fruiting.

 My chicken coop has sat dejected and lonely the last six months. I miss fresh eggs. But *hopefully* I'll be able to get them back next year once life with a new baby has settled down and I can build them a new movable run. No more backyard free ranging for them. It's just too hard to keep the poop off the patio and my tables. And they love digging and eating up my gardens too. So if I can get them back, I plan on making them a run similar to this one. The Williams-Sonoma coop was actually my inspiration for the coop design anyway. May as well make a run as well.

My Fortex Pole Beans are looking great and are staying pretty pest free. I had to pluck a handful of leaves off the bottom of plants a few weeks ago when I found colonies of black aphids starting to move in. Since then though, they've stayed away and the plants have been healthy. They are filled with little buds and will probably start blooming soon.

And would you look at those squash plants! Man have they taken off. It's currently looking like I have mostly bush variety, but it's hard to say. I had to put the trellis up for one ambitious plant who has plenty of flower buds and one yellow flower about to open. I ended up culling out all but 7 of the plants, just over half of the sprouted plants because of how large they were getting. I just picked the smallest or closest together and clipped them at the dirt line. It's better than pulling them out because cutting them won't disturb the roots of the plants I intend to keep. The squash have overtaken the row of marigold and calendula. You can just see them peeking out under the leaves as well as my parsley plant. 

These are my three little eggplant seedlings that are finally putting out some real leaves. I've read that eggplant are slow starting from seed, but then take off later in their life.

And my three cubanelle peppers are looking great and getting leafy. Peppers can also be a bit slow growing. But all the hot weather we've been having should get them moving.

My two blackberry plants have decided to set out some flowers and berries. And my grape vines have a few green leaves on the growing tips. I must say though, if my black berries and grapes don't give me something edible this year, they will be tossed. I could use their trellis (the two 4x4's with wire strung between) for more Fortex beans or any number of vining plants. I've had the grapes and black berries a few years now and the plants were a year or two old when I bought them. But I've had no edible grapes or berries to date. So they are on probation.

And here is the ugly butterfly garden. It has definitely filled out some and the plants are doing well, just growing slowly. But that's ok. The Porter Weed has attracted some honeybees and beneficial wasps to the garden. The lantanas are just coming into bloom and my hibiscus has had a few flowers.

I'm looking forward to playing with the overall design of the yard and garden in the coming months, but for right now, I'm really enjoying my little bit of "urban homesteading."

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