State of the Garden Address: Fall 2013

I can’t say my garden has been terribly successful this year, though it is much better than last.  About half of my plants perished from the heat, swimming after downpours, neglect, or simply not being harvested. The victims? My lavender, the spinach (though I did get one small harvest out of them, yum!), the cauliflower, the dill, the lettuce.

What did survive is slowly being transplanted in hopes of allowing it to expand. I’m starting to think ahead to next year and what I’ll do differently. I need to keep a journal and do some more research into what I’m buying and how it grows best. This year I put them in dirt and hoped for the best.

When I say I transplanted them, I mean I did it last week. Sean built me planters back in June, and there have been bags of dirt sitting in them since. I finally pulled them out and dumped them in. Bad news: leaving bags that long deceives the local 8 legged population into thinking they can move in. Good news: the grass below was killed and worms had made their way into the bags, so my planter boxes have some wriggly soil enrichers. Natalie got a kick out of the worms, asking to hold them and laughing uncontrollably when I put a wiggly one in the palm of her chubby little hand.

Here’s what the blueberry bush looks like now. Forgive the insane pine needlage, we were gone for the weekend and it was insanely windy.

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Here are the strawberries, which are still producing.

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The tomato plant, which have only produced mini tomatoes so far. At the top of the picture is the pepper plant.

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My sunflower circle was a success! Giant sunflowers grew, interspersed with smaller ones. I’ll be harvesting the head of the furthest right flower in the picture below so I can improve upon my design for next year.

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Little Split Level on the Urban Prairie

I’m submitting this as part of The Prairie Homestead’s Monday Barn Hop.

Anyone else think of Gnomeo and Juliet?

I feel like the gnome in this picture, with Monday’s little gremlins carrying off my stiff, lifeless body. Her Royal Highness has been testing me today, swinging between happy and miserable within seconds. My hope is she’s just overtired and stimulated from having visitors the last 4 days.

I’ll recap this weekend later on this week, but today I’m writing about a new obsession I have.

Homesteading.

Yes, you heard me right. Homesteading. Like, goats and cows and chickens and bees and veggies and other crunchy granola-type things. And yes, I’m well aware that I live in the city of Worcester, on a main road, with my neighbors’ homes just a little too close for comfort. And the only thing I’ve successfully grown is weeds.

But there is such thing as Urban Homesteading, and I’ve been reading up on it. And the top title in the picture below pretty much sums up my approach.

homesteading books

It started with a brand new e-book called Your Custom Homestead by Jill Winger, the gorgeous author of The Prairie Homestead. It helps you discover what aspects of homesteading you want to incorporate, and it’s broken up into 21 days, with brief and easy assignments each day.

Sean and I did hit up the Flower and Patio Show yesterday, which was, for the most part, a complete disappointment. Not worth the $10 entry fee. But we did catch a very neat presentation on cooking with herbs, where I learned about infusing vinegar, creating dressings, and making herb butter. Do I sense Christmas presents this year?

The horticulturist who presented was selling a seed propagation kit for $25. It included seeds, soil, trays and the vented mini greenhouse to house them. And directions…very important.

cat guards greenhouse

Not to mention it’ll keep my little seedlings safe from our rogue chewers.

So next, I have to plan my garden. What I’ll grow when, building the raised beds, and composting!