15 August 2015

Oh She Grows: Garden Update

The garden has been growing wonderfully this summer. We cannot seem to keep up to all the food it is giving us! But, now it has reached a new phase.

The early crops - beans, peas and brocoli are all out and done now. So, I resowed 'short season' crops, and some frost tolerant crops, for another harvest. The lettuce all bolted (and got bitter) during the last extreme heat wave that we got. So I planted more here as well, and we should be seeing lettuce again shortly. Also planted: bok choy (I am watching out for those pesky ear wigs!!), carrots, beets, kohl rabi (haven't been successful with this yet), cilantro (my earlier plants have gone to seed) and choy sum. Along with this, a second round of short season green beans.

While those new seeds start to sprout, we still have plenty of good eating in the garden. The peppers are a little earlier this year - yippiee! We will have plenty of hot peppers to pickle, and maybe some prize winners for the fair in September! My chili peppers won 1st last year :)

The tomato jungle is just that - my wonderful tomato jungle :)

There is a bit more order to it this year - but not really, hehe. I have trimmed the lower branches to keep from touching the ground, and I trim out the dead branches. But other than that - it is a free-for-all, and it is growing wonderfully that way.

My Mountain Magic tomatoes have been the first to ripen. They are like oversized cherry tomatoes. James says they are the most delicious of what has come out yet.

The grightmire tomatoes were next - witha  ripe one here and there. These are so pretty - little heart shaped tomatoes.

They have dark shoulders when they are green, but then it all turned into a uniform red, with the slightest striping in it. So pretty!

My cumcumbers are sharing climbing space with my purple pole beans, and the relationship is going quite well. They seem to be able to 'grip' onto the pole bean plant better than the fencing, and have required less training to succesfully get them climbing. I have squished a few cucumber beetles here and there, but crops are still going well.

We have lots of flowers in the gardens too this year, and they have brought in so many bees! It was the smartest choice adding them in this year - and they just brighten up the garden so much!

We are getting food out every day. And trying to figure out what to do with it all. It's just wonderful to walk out to the garden and find dinner :)

14 August 2015

Acrylic Landscape WIP (work in progress)

Last Saturday night was my 'change over' night - when I stay up as late as I can, because the next day I begin my night shifts at the hospital. I was trying to think up something to do as the night progressed, and inspiration hit me. I began a landscape painting on a longer canvas that I have. 

I really like how this piece started to come together quite organically. The drips from the sky shaping the tree line and giving hints of trunks.

I wasn't such a fan of the hard line separating the land and water, so I softened that up a bit.


The water still needs some work to create a sense of depth. I'm thinking pondering what to do there. I have definitely hit a 'block' with it. But hope to come back to it once all these tiresome night shifts are done. :)

17 July 2015

Bloom Original Watercolour Painting


I have a new painting to share with you all in the online shop. "Bloom" is an original watercolour, with some beautiful 'natural' typography details in the limbs of the tree.


This summer, I have been focused on 'blossoms' in my day-to-day gardening -- ensuring that there are enough flowers for the bees, and encouraging bees to buzz into my gardens and pollinate my vegetables for a successful harvest. It was only a matter of time until they showed up in my artwork again.

The organic flow of the tree was perfect to incorporate words and emotions into this painting to inspire its viewers.
"Bloom" - Original Watercolour Painting
The original painting is available in my online shop, and it is part of a small painting mini-series 'Written in the Trees'.

Shine is also a part of this series:
"Shine" -Original Watercolour Painting

09 July 2015

Cherry Goodness!

I went to the local U-pick and grabbed up about 10 lbs of cherries this week (yummy!). I had originally went last week for strawberries, but it was bummer crop and just picked enough to do one batch of freezer jam. Cherries is where it is at this summer!

They were so plentiful, it was easy picking! I brought home my bounty, and processed a bunch of them into canned cherries. I had wanted to do this last year as well, but my canning supplies that I had ordered did not arrive by then. This year - I was all over it! I got about 11 jars, and made sure to leave plenty for fresh eating this week :)

I cannot wait till winter to have these summer time gems still available to us :)

08 July 2015

Oh She Grows: Garden Update!

We have a lot of goodness going on in the garden right now! While the snap peas are almost done for now (saddening, I know); a lot of new vegetables are coming close to being ripe!

I pulled out my first carrot of the season. Isn't it so pretty! Totally planting rainbow carrots again next year! The earwigs, and other critters ate the tops of a lot of the carrot seedlings again this year, so again this year we have an 'okay' crop. It's not horrible, it's not fantastic. It's about half what I started with unfortunately. I was hoping to freeze some for the winter for soups, but I think there will be just enough to eat fresh. I guess we will know better as the summer progresses.

The zucchini is blossoming, and looks like it's about to set with produce. I can already count three potential zucchini - so folks be warned: the zucchini plague is closing in on us. But we must admit, it is wonderful to be so fortunate to get such bountiful harvests...I will just have to bestow this bounty on unsuspecting persons hehe.

The spinach has been done a while, and I've pulled up all the plants but a handful. I've let them fully bolt with hopes that I can get seed from them later. And, the blossoms will be good for the bees.

My broccoli is just about ready. Now comes the tricky waiting game - you don't want to wait too long and get yellow blossoms instead! My plan to plant two 60-day and two 80-day varieties also backfired, as they are all coming ripe at the same time. I will just have to freeze some of them. All of the heads are good, healthy sizes with the exception of one.

We also have the beginnings of tomatoes! Yippie! All plants are setting well. The indeterminates are growing like crazy (as they should), and the determinants are bushing out like crazy (as they should). Last year, I used an electric tooth brush to give the blossoms a 'buzz' to get pollination going - as a lot of blossoms dropped to poor pollination. This year, I've just been giving all the plants a good 'shaking' each time I go into the garden, and that seems to work just as well - and a lot less work. It is a tomato jungle again, but I don't care - I love it!

07 July 2015

Rainbow Succulent Pastel Painting Progress

I bet most of you were wondering where this piece disappeared to? Well, it been sitting where it started this whole time - on my art easel just waiting for me to pick up a pastel again. This past week, I did and finished another succulent in the composition.

It was good to be using the pastels again - and even better just being in the art studio. Work and garden life have kept me super busy, and I was so happy to have a moment to sit, listen to music, sip some wine and work on some art. I'll openly admit: it will probably be another year or two till this slow-as-molasses piece is complete. Oh well ;)

22 June 2015

Oh She Grows: Garden update!

The garden has been extra lively this past week - all that rain we got followed by a beautiful hot day of sunshine, really made things explode! Today is another sunny day, and I'm sure when I get home from work, things will have grown a whole bunch again. You can see I've moved my eggplant plant to this first bed, instead of the second bed. It needs a whole lot of sunshine, and it was just getting a whole lot of shade when the broccoli got bigger. It's in a happier place now :)

My purple mist peas have reached beyond the trellis / chicken wire and are breached over the fence and just doing their own thing. There are mammoth sunflowers in front of them, growing with them, and supporting them (preventing them from falling forward into the garden).

They are bringing the bees into the garden, which was super important to me this year, especially after last year seeing only ever one bee in my garden, and having tons of failed pollination. I tried to take a picture of a bumble bee buzzing around inside a blossom, but he ended up being quite territorial, and buzzed at me until I backed up, and then continued with its work. What a camera shy bee!

The purple flowers are gorgeous, and I especially love that they are giving way to purple peas! Something beautiful and edible!

Aren't those pods gorgeous! And so easy to find amoung the greenery! Just have to wait for them to plumb up with those precious peas! I will definitely grow these again next year - if not for the peas, than for the blossoms, and their ability to attract the pollinators in so well.

These little seedlings are a bit late - they took ages to come up - but I am most excited for them. They are watermelon plants! Nothing tastes better than home grown watermelon! As you can see, something has nibbled on them - I've seen earwigs, slugs and sow bugs around, so it's really any one's guess. Since I had given up on these guys germinating outside, I had actually started two seeds inside. I will just keep those ones inside a bit longer, protected from the bugs, and see what happens to these ones. But yea! Watermelon!....maybe....

Almost all my tomatoes are blossoming, and of the ones that are, most have more than one cluster set on the go. I have learnt my lesson from last year, and despite knowing there are bees around this time, I've been giving them a little shake everyday to get the pollen into the middle of the flower for more successful fruit setting. I've already notice a tiny, tiny tomato here and there.

The lettuce has gone crazy. Literally crazy. This is my fault. We had tons and tons of spinach, and I was so focused on using that before it bolted (which it is doing now in these hotter, longer days), that I ignored the lettuce, and now we have lettuce overload. Just means we will be eating tons of super healthy salads! Above the lettuce, are a row of beets that are doing wonderfully.

If you follow me on instagram, you'll also know my broccoli (the early variety) is coming up to head. It's just super small right now, but it will grow. Trust me. :)

With the newer vegetables that have been coming ready, we have gotten more varied harvests. I must say I am loving the bok choy, and will likely plant more of it next year (despite the flea beetles loving it as well).
Right now we are eating: bok choy, lettuce, spinach (finishing up), radishes (only a couple left), and snap peas. Yummy!