Saturday, June 22, 2013

Garden Notes

This year in the garden, we decided to downsize.  Luke is in Oregon now, and with Steve's surgeries this winter and spring, we decided to go a little easier.  But life seems blank without growing something in the summer months doesn't it?  So we have planted in the 3 small beds up near our house.   It is nice to have them, but the battle rages  here in Colorado.  Grasshoppers, draught, scorching wind and fire have waged war. We have wells on our property that are a part of our business, and you would think with "that" being so, we would have plenty of water for our gardens.  But those wells are not close at hand for our use.  Our house and garden are connected to a shallow hand dug well, that, while it provides ample for our household, does not have quite enough to suffice for lawn and gardening projects when there is a drought.   Even in good wet years, we cannot manage the lawn from our well (yet in those wetter years the lawn is well watered by the Lord).   It is a little bit of  "The cobbler's children have no shoes" scenarios.  so,  our garden and yard struggles when we have drought.  The drought is very bad right now and fires are everywhere; it feels like the State is on fire.   This evening when we were driving home, there was so much haze and smoke covering the sky, that it seemed as if we were on another planet in a science fiction movie.  It has been very sad and sobering to think of how many people have lost their homes in Colorado Springs (over 500 at this point), and fires still going all over the State.  Such strange and sad days.  Gardening helps generate life, not only in the ground but in ourselves, and is always my way of  regenerating every summer... even if it is  a strain and a struggle.

Colorado soil is not the easiest soil to garden in, so we have been trying to improve and add to it in some way every year.  This year we took some of our soil to an "expert" in Colorado Springs, and he gave us some tips for how to improve our soil and we followed them.. I will do a recap at end of summer and let you know what I think, but so far; I am loving the items he told us to get.

I am a geranium nut.  Even though we can't grow geraniums year around here,  I do love to have them in pots around our patio area.  We set up our carport/patio area every spring with tables and chair and  flowers, to have a nice outdoor family room.  We like to eat breakfast and dinner out there quite often, as well as visit with friends.

This is our toad.  We have had many toads as  I am sure many of you have toads, but this toad really likes us and insists on being near us all the time.  He can be found on our patio day or  night.  We had company coming to dinner the other day, so we kept putting him back in various places in the garden so that he wouldn't be underfoot and scare the company (some people aren't as fond of toads as I am).  We must have moved him 10 times... (a good deal away from the patio) but 5 minutes later he was back on the patio.  I didn't know toads knew their directions; this one does.
When he sleeps, he burrows in the soft garden soil, or a flowerpot on the patio.  At night he is a great bug exterminator... one of the things I like about him.

Last year our neighbor Brett  hired our son Eddie and our neighbor and friend Jonathan to haul the horse manure out of his corral.  We provided a place for Brett to haul it to; next to our garden.  It has been composting all year and is there as we need it.
This spring, the "expert" from Colorado Springs recommend two things to build our soil; on top of the wonderful manure that we had been composting all year. They are the following:

This Dry Molasses.  They are both very good additions to our soil; be sure to click the links on them,  if you are needing to improve your soil.

We also bought this 4 lb bag of worm castings, and have added it along with the other items everywhere we have planted.

Worm castings.

Can you see the grasshopper on the left side of the picture?  You might have to really look... its like one of those pictures "can you find Waldo"... haha.  He has just finished off the newly sprouted leaves of my zucchini squash.  He and his cousins are in the process of taking out our garden.  I have planted seed twice ... always hopeful that this time.... but everything that comes up they eat.  So far they have not started in on the strawberries and tomatoes and haven't been too hard on the onions.  We are trying to figure out what to do.  A hoop house is something we would like to do; but it isn't do-able right now.

I have left oat grass to grow for the most  part; hoping to aid in protecting the plants  from the grasshoppers and heat.  That has helped somewhat.   You can see how dry every thing is. All the dirt you see around the beds used to be grass; you can see where the garden beds have blank spots...  the grasshopper moving from the outside in.

But to quote Irma Bombeck...
"The grass is always greener over the septic tank".  Yes, she is right.

My mint is hanging on (gotta have my ice tea with mint) and several flowers and herbs in this little bed are hopeful.

I had potato seed  galore... but didn't want to put them in the big beds this year as I stated earlier... so I put them in a planter we saved from a tree;  by the house.  I just packed them in there with dirt, straw, manure, compost and so on.   This was last weeks growth;

...and this weeks growth.   Perhaps they will do good this way.

I  planted flower, herb and basil seeds from last years plants.  I  love to have lots of fresh basil.

I let some carrots go to seed last year.. and now they are popping up all over the place; I like that.  I am not sure what has taken them so long to sprout... we had a late winter, into a scorching summer;  not much spring to speak of perhaps that is what it is.  So far the grasshoppers don't seem to like them. Hurray...  

My garlic is doing really well;  I planted it last fall; So far the grasshoppers haven't touched it either. The onions are coming along nicely. 

Geraniums all in a row.

 Our patio is a little rustic,

... but cozy.

And this tub contains a special gift that was given to Steve for Father's Day and Birthday from his girls.
It contains livestock.  Steve has been bragging about the fact that he now owns 2000 head and his kids all own more than that.

Ha Ha...Little Red Wigglers;  they are on the "little"  side yet, but they  will produce a crop of wonderful compost and worm castings.... yes we are back in the farming business.

".....but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Have a great weekend and may all your gardens be green.


  1. What a beautiful peek you gave us! I LOVE seeing everything mom, Your gardens look so lovely and fresh. I wish ours looked as neat. It is sad to see everything else so dry and dusty though, Very sad. I miss it so much. I can't wait to come out and see you guys! I am definitely going to glean so much from you while I am there. I can't wait to see your soil and compost and also those red wrigglers! Dad is so much fun!

    I LOVE you
    ~ Marie

  2. This post was pure delight Mom! Your blog is like having a conversation over the phone, but with gorgeous pictures. The worms look very happy he he he! Yes, the grass looks so dry! Have you had any rain this weekend? Even though it has been horribly dry, your garden and everything you are growing looks amazing Mom! Really making me homesick! I love you!!!

  3. Wow, it really does look dry with you! Is it always that dry at this time of year or is this year an exception?

    It still looks like you are managing to do a great job growing things though!

  4. Marie and Elizabeth, you make me feel as if we did just have a lovely conversation on the phone; it leaves me hungry and thirsty for more (never satisfied am I).

    Kirsteen, In the fall and winter, everything dries up, and it will look somewhat like it does now (but with little dirt showing) We have never seen it like this at the beginning of summer. It was dry last year, and even the year before; but I think the drought has culminated over the last couple of years, to what we have now; and no rain to speak of, it is really taken a toll when ever we drive to or from town, we keep noticing, with sadness, how the dirt patches are more and more pronounced, and the grass is disappearing/ even the weeds are hardly thriving, and trees and wild shrub bushes are dying as well. Very sad.

  5. What a sweet post. I love to see that you decided to plant some things. As Barry would say it's better to plant something, than nothing at all. He has taken over this year and our greenhouse and outside gardens are blooming with tons of veggies. Our tomato plants are gigantic and same with the taters. He said we should be getting produce within the next week! Yeah, so excited for our very own fresh produce!! Keep up the good work Pam! I'm so glad we got a bit of a relief from the smoke last night, now only if that darn wind would go away!!
    Love You,

  6. Despite the horrid drought and fires, your gardens look to be doing better than mine. I have a bunny who ate much of my garden this spring. Sometimes gardening almost seems to be more trouble than joy, but persevere I will. Hopefully come fall my efforts will have all been worth it.

    Happy gardening!