Springtime Garden 2013

Spring is upon us! And one of my favorite ways to celebrate is by adding life to my collection of little planters. What is extra exciting about this year in particular, is that I have a real BACK YARD!! In past years, we have had the pleasure of balcony gardens only. And when I say garden, I mean very very simple and small scale. I’ve had no more than a handful or so of different plants at once, yet I do gain a sense of deep fulfillment by nurturing even just a single plant. I am beginning to realize that I have a passion for gardening! Though I wouldn’t exactly say I have a green thumb, my will to perfect my hobby over time is definitely there. *Note- I have only been able to properly plant just a couple of these new additions- I am in need of some small rocks to cover the holes at the bottom of most of my planters. Will take a nice picture of my properly planted backyard garden as the season carries on!

Hot pink geranium and miscellaneous plant which I love!

Hot pink geranium and miscellaneous plant.

This year, I am trying to think more practical than anything. New additions include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red bell pepper, a baby strawberry plant, a hot pink geranium, citronella, and a miscellaneous leafy beauty.

From left to right: broccoli, brussel sprouts, strawberry, and the bottom one is a little addition for fun (not sure what it's called).

From left to right: broccoli, brussel sprouts, strawberry, and the bottom one is a little addition for fun (not sure what it’s called).

Seniority goes to our beautiful aloe plant that I have raise from a 6 point, 3 inch high little pip squeak. As you can see, it’s grown beyond belief. So much so, that it has been busting at the seams for over a year now. I upgraded it so that it can thrive even more (by transplanting it to a bigger dwelling). We love to use our aloe for scrapes, cuts, and burns. I am having faith that it will continue to thrive! When I went to transplant it I found a creepy amount of tiny little fuzzy yellow eggs. I love nature and deeply appreciate it but the thought of numerous spiders hatching just two feet away from my front door really creeps me out. I brushed as many off as I could and only took as much dirt with the plant as necessary to not interfere too much with the roots (which were very shallow)! So happy to see this dear plant have a new glory spot to thrive in.

The glorious aloe. Currently not it best health but I'm sure it's very happy to have room to grow!

The glorious aloe. Currently not it best health but I’m sure it’s very happy to have room to grow!

Our other veteran is the gorgeous purple “wandering Jew” (actual name) that has survived through 2 winters, a drought, and tons of neglect at various times. I have to prune it back every couple of months to contain it. Planning to let some loose in our front walkway once the monster bush is gone (hopefully we will be taking care of that soon). The whole area that it fills will be a huge blank canvas for me to fill, but for now I’m focusing on the backyard since me and the girls spend most of our time there.

Eva says, "Purple!" She loves this plant.

Eva says, “Purple!” She loves this plant.

John and I have also been tackling the weeds that have had free reign of our yard for months. What a mess! Needless to say, hand pulling weeds is a daunting task. We spent over an hour outside today clearing one small area so we will be taking that project in strides, never EVER to be ignored for so long at once!

Our citronella (left) and the best looking broccoli plant (right).

Our citronella (left) and the best looking broccoli plant (right).

I have 9 little plants each for both broccoli and brussels that require 18 inch spacings each. Since I don’t have my raised bed set up yet, I am going to plant as many of these in spare planters as I can, and plant the leftovers directly into the ground next to my potato patch experiment to see how they fare. I might try to put some wire mesh fencing around it to keep our pup Todd from lifting his leg on them, which he loves to do.

Recent picture of the potatoe patch.

Recent picture of the potatoe patch.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading up on my 2013 backyard garden! My girls and I are outside several times a day so it shouldn’t be too hard for me to keep up with watering these little guys. Having a hose within close proximity to plants makes gardening life so much easier. I used to have to fill an empty milk jug and water my plants one gallon at a time from our two story apartment, so this should be a great planting/growing season indeed! 🙂

Tomato and red bell pepper!

Tomato and red bell pepper!

Stay tuned for more garden updates! Until next time…

CarasFinalSigCaraJean

The Potato Patch Experiment…

One mid-December afternoon I looked upon my potato stash and realized that a handful of small organic russet potatoes had sprouted! I had a fresh sack that hadn’t yet sprouted so I decided to experiment with the older ones. I took those 6 little spuds and planted them, right in my backyard. It took me about 20 minutes to clear all the grass from the soil in my designated area, and scoop up some dirt to soften the soil and plant them.

BEFORE (A few minutes after they were planted and watered):
IMG_20121217_112522

AFTER (2 Months of Neglect):

IMG_20130213_161927HA! I supposed that my experiment was so unplanned and came together so fast from the time I thought of it, acted on it, cleared a spot, planted, and watered it, that it really never even had a chance to sink in. AKA: I was so busy that I forgot to check on my first little potato patch until almost 2 months later! And by golly I’ll say it caught on! I could only identify what seemed to be plants from 4 potatoes. Still, a 66% success rate is fairly impressive! I had gone outside early to check on it while John was in the shower. When he came downstairs, I was awaiting his appearance with the most proud grin and stance to which he appropriately responded, “….Yes????” I was so happy to share the good news of my first impromptu attempt to grow food. To my surprise it really was not so hard at all! 🙂 Some of the potato plants even have dainty little white flowers.

I hope this is an accurate precursor to my soon to come raised square-foot garden bed- I have been planning for it since last Fall. (I promise, I’ll put more effort into that one.) My square-foot garden is currently under construction but I promise to post on that as the project is underway!

CarasFinalSigCaraJean