Cucumber Takeover

We got back from vacation in which we avoided 2 weeks of near-constant rain. My garden (and the weeds) loved it!

The cucumber has taken over the side plot. I can’t even find my tomatoes!

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They're hidden in here somewhere. That's Cassatt standing behind the cucumber vine.

A friend was going to water and harvest while we were gone. She didn’t need to water.

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Resulting cucumber

I guess I have my garden work ready for me!

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Garden Update–May 21

So I posted garden pics last week, and it’s growing!

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This is the planter I did with my MOPS group. It’s really grown out!

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These are the flowers on the other side of the doorway.

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I’m really proud of how this bed in front turned out.

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This is the side bed I planted. Last week we planted some sunflower seeds on the north side (left side). They’re starting to sprout, but you can’t see that in the picture.

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Here is the raised bed. The lettuce is really doing well now, the cool weather is helping it out. My tomatoes aren’t so happy with the weather though.

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Here’s just a corner of the bed. You can see lettuce, tomatoes, mint, spicy pepper. We planted sunflower seeds here, too.

If We Were Having Coffee in the Dirt

This post is part of a link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster

This post is part of a link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster

Welcome! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer). It’s raining, so we’re not actually having coffee outside in the garden, but it’s nice and cozy inside. If you can handle some little boy chaos, that is.

If we were having coffee, we’d be talking about my garden again today. I hope you’re not getting tired of hearing about it. I dug up a square out of the tiny side lawn this week. Then this morning I went to the hardware store and got soil to put down and some vegetables and herbs–cucumber, okra, tomato, rosemary, oregano, and cilantro. I then spent the morning digging it up and mixing in soil, but then I got to plant everything! I would show you a picture, but it started raining right as I finished, so I haven’t taken one yet.

If we were having coffee I would tell you we had a productive CHADD meeting this week. The tables were full; there were more people there than there had been for a long time! We had a professional organizer speak on procrastination, which was a very popular topic. Our meeting ran long, and I think most people were happy about that.

Speaking of CHADD, someone contacted me about speaking about how ADHD affects women. She is a great speaker; I got to see her talk at the conference last November. So I am both excited and a little nervous, because now it looks like I will have two events to plan for the fall.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you how your weather is and how you are getting ready for summer/winter in your part of the world. I can’t believe my sons have only 3 more weeks of school this year! I need to plan for the summer, but I just keep procrastinating on it …

Well, I need to go; I have housework I need to get to this afternoon. I hope you have enjoyed your coffee. I’ll send you home with a big bowl of fresh lettuce. It is growing like crazy, especially in this rain, and my family is getting tired of eating it!

Until next week,

Sarah

If We Were Having Coffee at the Farmer’s Market …

This post is part of a link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster

This post is part of a link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster

Isn’t it a gorgeous morning? We’re meeting today for coffee at Soulard Farmer’s Market. Instead of sitting and sipping, we’re walking through the stalls, admiring the locally-grown spring produce (as well as that bought wholesale), smelling the pungent cumin at the spice shop, buying a fresh bouquet, and enjoying ourselves. I have been looking forward to this all week.

At the Soulard Market

 

Today I am buying some berries to make jam. I used my canner for the first time last weekend to make pickles, and they are beautiful! Cucumbers were on sale last week, and of course I bought too many, so we’ve been eating Tatziki and drinking cucumber water this week. The pickles have to brine for at least a week, so I can’t wait to try them tomorrow!

I’ve been busy with my garden this week. Cassatt is learning to water and has been very helpful.

Cassatt watering the raised bed

Cassatt watering the raised bed. The lettuce and spinach are doing well!

The flower bed we planted a couple weeks ago is doing well too. I’m still very proud of what we did there.

The bed before we planted (but after we weeded it).

The bed before we planted (but after we weeded it).

The finished product!

The finished flower bed!

I decided I need more garden space. We have a side yard that gets lots of sun and isn’t used, so I started digging that up yesterday so I can start planting it. I’m getting some help with that too. Picasso and Cassatt are good little gardeners! And the weather has been so nice this week, we can’t help but be outside.

I hope your week is going well. Do you have a garden at your house/apartment?

I have enjoyed our walk through Soulard. I hope you got some things you’ll enjoy; I’ll be going home with some berries to can as well as some veggies for the week. And, of course, a spring bouquet. It’s my birthday tomorrow, I can’t have a spring birthday without flowers!

If We Were Having Coffee in the Garden …

If we were having coffee …

Let’s have coffee in the garden today. In reality, it’s supposed to rain today and my garden isn’t really big enough to “have coffee” in. But let’s pretend we’re having the gorgeous weather we had earlier in the week, so beautiful you want to sit outside, even if just on concrete steps, and drink in the sun. And we can pretend we’re in a big backyard garden with flowers and vegetables growing all around.

I’ve been very excited about my garden this week and what I’ve been able to accomplish in it. Last weekend we rebuilt the retaining wall so it could be a little bit higher, added garden soil, planted some perennials and annuals, fertilized and mulched them. And most of them haven’t died yet. It’s a small garden patch–only about 7 square feet, right in front of the house, but I’m excited to have it done. Picasso and Cassatt are not as excited to lose their digging space though!

Yesterday my moms group talked about container gardening and Julie talked about how much she is able to plant on her postage stamp lawn. I am impressed! Now I am inspired to plant more around the house.

If we were having coffee …

I would tell you my other excitement this week has been canning. My dad is taking his breadmaking habit seriously and got a grain mill this past week. This inspired him to order me a canner for my birthday. It took several days to ship, so I got books about canning from the library and have been reading them and studying the recipes. Hubby’s first impression was that you can brew a whole lot of beer using that. I’m glad he’ll be able to get some use out of it too, since we don’t really need a pot that big. I hope to loan it to some friends this summer and keep it in good rotation so it doesn’t sit too much in storage.

I am going to an autism resource fair to volunteer for MPACT this morning. They provide advocacy resources for parents trying to get help for their kids in school. I’m really looking forward to it. Part of me thinks I should do some of this for CHADD, but without having more volunteers, it’s hard to do much publicity.

Pumpkin Pie

My garden did not produce quite as well as I had wanted, but it did give us two nice small pumpkins.

Pumpkin in July

Pumpkin in July. The vine twined up the sunflower and the pumpkin grew hanging, off the ground.

I cooked one and made it into a pumpkin pie!  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the pumpkin before I cut it, but here it is being cut on Saturday.


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I steamed it for about 40 minutes.

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I also roasted the seeds and snacked on those on Saturday afternoon.

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When the pumpkin finished steaming, I pureed it in the food processor.  I then measured out what I needed and froze the rest.

 


Why do recipes never say “take a photo for your blog?”  At any rate, I didn’t get any more pictures until the finished product.  The recipe was enough for two pies.

Pumpkin Pies

I can’t wait to eat it after Thanksgiving dinner!

 

Mint

Mint Leaves

Can you spot them?

I looked deep into my garden yesterday, underneath the sunflower, cucumber leaves and trailing pea plants.  What was that weed that is growing so fast?  It is in the back row, where I don’t pay as much attention because I have to go into my neighbor’s yard to see past the tomato plants.

That weed. It was growing so fast! And then I realized: I had planted mint in that square.  It is not a weed, only growing like one.

What am I going to do with all that mint?  I have enough to make an entire mint-themed dinner, from appetizer to dessert!  This looks like an excuse for a party.

Mint and Pea Pesto

Princess and the Pea Pesto

Strawberry Mint Lassi

Spring Peas with Mint

Asparagus and Mint Risotto

Junior Mints Cupcakes

Junior Mints Cupcakes

Do you have any favorite mint recipes?

Cucumber

And we have cucumber flowers!

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Cucumber flowers

It’s not so obvious in this picture, but they are big, gaudy yellow flowers. They look a lot like zucchini flowers, actually. I’m amazed every day with how big it is.

Garden Update

My Garden is growing like wildfire!  It is exciting to see it grow every day.  Based on the blossoms,  I am going to have much more come from it than I imagined.  It’s hard to believe that what started from a tiny seed has grown into a rain forest, with so many layers that I have to dig down to get to the bottom layers for my daily salad.  Yes! I have enough lettuce that I am having fresh salad every day.

 

veggies

Lettuce, Tomato, Marigolds, Cucumber

Here is just some of the garden.  You can see the tiny watermelon plant, the carrots, tomato plants, lettuce, marigolds, and the cucumber vine intruding into the picture.

 

Zucchini Blossom

Zucchini Blossom

Here is the zucchini.  I think the huge yellow blossoms are so pretty!  Since I took this picture, about 10 more zucchini blossoms have emerged.  You can also see a red lettuce plant next to the zucchini.  I haven’t been eating from this one, and it has grown big!

Cassatt under a leaf in the garden

Cassatt hiding under a sunflower leaf

Here is cassatt peering down into the tomato cage of one of my tomatoes.  I love how he is hiding behind a sunflower leaf here.  You can see some zucchini blossoms, the cucumber, and some tomatoes here too.

This is the cucumber plant

Cucumber

And this is the behemoth cucumber plant.  It has really taken over!  It’s leaves cover some smaller patches — lettuce and basil — but fortunately they are growing well.  The basil may not be doing as well as if it had more sunlight, but it is still growing.  It is amazing that what started as a cucumber seed grew into this so quickly!

Tom is not a vegetable lover, and he is not as excited about the harvest as I am.  I am already starting to plan how I will preserve some of this for winter!

 

Vegetable Garden

On Saturday I spent a good deal of time weeding my vegetable garden.

It feels like weeding is all I do in this garden.  There is a ton of grass that grows in it.  If left to its own devices, I suspect it would look like a raised part of our lawn.  Only the grass would grow to 7 feet high, because it is hard to get a lawnmower into that bed.

I have not grown anything in this bed for several years.  When I tackled the weeds this year, it took me three days of hard work to get all the weeds out of the 3′ x 8′ bed.  Granted these were school days, while Picasso is in school (for only 3 hours during the day), but still.

When I finished and got it set up to plant, at the end of May, it looked like this:

Vegetable Garden in Spring

Vegetable Garden on April 28, 2014

Dirt, dirt, beautiful dirt!  You notice three plants in there.  I had purchased these plants to put in the garden, but everything else I started from seed.  I based it on a square-foot-gardening plan, and used a variation of this plan at Gardener’s Supply:

Garden Plan Fun for Kids

Fun for Kids

They have a variety of kitchen garden plans.  It is worth checking out if you are interested!

After I weeded over the weekend, here is how the garden looks now, not quite a month after planting (and right after weeding):

Carrots, Melons, Tomatoes, Lettuce, PeasPeas, Tomatoes, Lettuce, MarigoldsPeas, Peppers, Squash, Pumpkin

You’ll have to forgive my photo editing: I had to take several pictures to get everything in!

We have planted:

  • carrots
  • melon
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • marigolds
  • peas
  • cucumber
  • pumpkins
  • yellow pepper
  • sunflowers

I also planted corn, but it is not coming up!  I think some squirrel must have sniffed out the corn kernels, and dug them up.  So yesterday I went to the store and got some plants to put in these squares.  I got

  • mint
  • parsley
  • tomatoes
  • zucchini

As you can tell, there is a lot of variety in this garden!  There will not be a lot of anything, but I am using it to teach my children about growing vegetables.  They even helped me weed!

What’s on my menu?

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