how our garden grows

July 10, 2014 by meg | 2 Comments

lots of greens and herbsthe peas are climbing onnew plantings of radishesred veined sorrelwintered over arugulai snapped some new pictures of the garden today. we are at about 6 weeks in from when it was planted.  things are growing well despite the rogue chicken that got in a couple of weeks ago and had a feast and the rather steady rain.  we’re on our second planting of radishes and just started some more scallions. otherwise things are chugging along.  this year we are growing: arugula (wintered over from last year), sorrel, zucs and squash (for the blossoms only), herbs, scallions, radishes, three kinds of beans, peas, leeks, yellow and red onions, a couple of varieties of spinach and chard, fennel, garlic, cabbage and broccoli (which is probably not going to produce thanks to the chicken).
Untitledmaking ricottalooks like there will be some menu planning around spinach this week, perhaps with the ricotta i made yesterday.
cabbages feeling like its fallmailbox scarlet runner beanswe planted some veggies in containers in the front. some are doing better than others.  our cabbages think its fall and just really aren’t growing.  i think i’ll cover their box with plastic to see if i can’t jump start them a bit.  the scarlet runner beans are running and flowering, good signs that we may get some beans.  my nasturtiums are exploding.  i did some research and learned that all but the stem of the plant is edible.  we’ve made pesto, and vinegar so far with plans to make infused vodka for bloodymarys and preserves.  nasturtium flowers taste peppery which will work well in the vodka and preserves.  the leaves taste more like radishes, which work well in pesto.  we may even try nasturtium capers.
pano of the front yardthe front yard got a little clean up today too even in the rain. i pulled some canadian thistle and inserted some hostas in their stead.  from where we started at the end of april, things are looking good all around.  we’re hoping for the rest of july to give us some warmer temps and sun to really let us get the most from our garden this year.  i’m also hoping to stick in one or two small raised beds in the back still – one dedicated to garlic and perhaps a second to start a later season crop of greens so we can enjoy our garden veggies into october or possibly even later.

making yard art

June 11, 2014 by meg | 0 comments

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standing next to the butterfly we made.

we have a lot of scrap wood from various projects we’ve worked on over the past five years we’ve lived here. some of it has been cut up to burn in our fire bowl, but since we have years’ worth of wood for that, today zelda and i dipped into the stash to make some art for our garden. IMGP4276.jpg
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a dragonfly keeps our berry bushes company.

how our garden grows

June 9, 2014 by meg | 0 comments

unidentified flowering bush

unidentified flowering bush

the korean lilac is in bloom

the korean lilac is in bloom

as i mentioned previously, unlike the front yard garden beds, our backyard is a utility space that accommodates our eight chickens, three dogs and also be a space for zelda to play. we are trying to incorporate as many edible elements into our living space as possible and most of those efforts are concentrated in the back yard. but, the backyard isn’t without some flowers. we have a flowering bush that i don’t know the name of and a gigantic korean lilac tree.
black and red current bushes

black current bushes by the chicken coop

red current and blueberry bushes

red current and blueberry bushes


we do have two apple trees up front and we planted scarlet runner beans and cabbages by the mailbox, but there were more out of a lack of space in the vegetable garden than intentional placement. IMGP4183.jpgof course the big back yard project is the garden. i consider this to be week 2 of the vegetable garden. this year we have a diverse array of veggies planted and is probably our most ambitious garden in alaska to date. i’ll provide a run down on what we’ve planted soon once we see what actually sprouts and takes.
wood scrap plank foundation

wood scrap plank foundation

we were able to recycle a lot of the wood from the collapsed greenhouse to create a base layer for the mulch walkways we’ve put in, providing me more stability as i walk on the mulch, which is mostly to keep the grass and dandelions at bay.
mulched garden walkways

mulched garden walkways

zelda’s garden has turnips and heirloom cabbages in it this year. unfortunately it’s not protected from the chickens, so we’ll see what survives. we chose the plants because they are safe if zelda eats the foliage. gardening is a little confusing for her as to what she can eat from the yard.
zelda's garden blooms year round

zelda’s garden blooms year round

how our garden grows

June 4, 2014 by meg | 3 Comments

zinnias

zinnias

some sort of ground cover that i don't know the name of, but love and has the most delicate sweet smell.

some sort of ground cover that i don’t know the name of, but love and has the most delicate sweet smell

we spend a lot of time in the yard, i mean a lot. when zach and i went to our landscaping class in april they asked how many hours per week we spend working in our yard/garden. we guesstimated 20. but we enjoy the work and the results and try not to think of the short growing season. while the vegetable garden just went in yesterday, our front lawn and flower beds have gotten considerable attention already since the weather turned nice early. IMGP3878.jpg

flowers chosen and planted by zelda.

flowers chosen and planted by zelda

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love having our lilacs.

love having our lilacs

globe trollius, probably my favorite find since moving up here.

globe trollius, probably my favorite find since moving up here

our apple tree has flowered for the first time since we put it in four years ago

our apple tree has flowered for the first time since we put it in four years ago

what i love most about these garden beds are the flowers we grow that i then use as cut flowers around the house. i am particularly loving using the bleeding hear foliage as a background for other flowers. the leaves are just so sculptural.

forget me nots.

forget me nots.

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lilac and bleed heart leaves

lilac and bleeding heart leaves

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we are also working hard this year to put in some more four season interest. we added a service berry bush that we’ll be pruning to grow more like a tree. in a couple of years when the winter is here, we’ll be able to look out and see the branches as a focal point from our large picture window.  

serviceberry bush, which grows edible berries

serviceberry bush, which grows edible berries

all of these photos are from the front yard.  we’ve started whipping the back yard into shape, but that space is much more our utility space, especially with three dogs and eight chickens.

while we were gone

August 8, 2013 by meg | Comments Off

the kids' garden far exceeding its bed

the kids’ garden far exceeding its bed

the  rains came and the garden exploded!  also the weather has decidedly turned pre-fall.  its wet and cooler and i see a few yellow leaves on the birch trees.  while it was good we hadn’t finished the roof on the greenhouse, the peas would have had nowhere to go, we’d better get that done since winter crops will have to be planted soon.

one last round of color

one last round of color

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seriously overgrown

seriously overgrown

time to harvest the peas

time to harvest the peas

among the weeds you can find squash

among the weeds you can find squash

a late pumpkin getting started

a late pumpkin getting started

daisy interlopers filling the unplanted bed

daisy interlopers filling the unplanted bed