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!

13 June 2015

Oh She Grows: Reaching Heights

The gardens are really starting to green up now. So far we have harvested kale, spinach and radishes for the past week or two. And beginning this week, we harvested our first batch of Bok Choi and our first round of lettuce :)

It was so sunny, and hard to get a 'nice' picture of the garden, but this will give a nice overview, and I'll go into detail :)

We have marigolds a plenty this year to keep the pests at bay, and the rabbits - we have seen 4-5 large adult rabbits hopping around on recent nights.

The broccoli plants are huge, and the purple pod peas and sunflowers have grown taller than the side trellis.

We even have our first purple pea blossom! :)

Our sugar snap peas are giving us pods - yummy!

The spinach, beans and peas are doing great - despite the pests :)

The bok choi has bounced back, and newer leaves don't have garden flea bites in them.

We have our first pepper growing, and more blossoms on the way!

The lettuce is beautiful and coming along so well! Because of the spinach, I've been able to let it grow a little bit more before harvesting, as we have had the spinach and kale for early spring salads.

The mixed beets have beautiful leaves, but it will be a long while until they are ready to pull out. I pulled out some of the smaller plants to thin the row, and we ate the leaves in a salad.

The tomatoes grow more every day, and I've already had to go through and prune back the suckers on the indeterminate varieties. I've decided to let the determinate varieties branch out as they want - since pruning them is just decreasing my yield.

I've been spending a lot of time weeding and doing pest control, but it's just so relaxing after a long day at work. When there is nothing to do in the gardens, I sort of wish for something to pop up so I can stay out there ;)

04 June 2015

Oh She Grows: Garden Troubles

My garden has been growing wonderfully - but it cannot be all peaches and sunshine (I guess). Above is what was my butterfly garden - a handful of perennials to help encourage and feed butterflies, especially the Monarch. Something last night thought they were not quite a fan of the plants and dug them all up. Didn't eat them. No footprints in the soil. It was just bizarre.  I just put them back where they were, and hopefully they stick. We think, something tried to eat them, and didn't like them. Oh well.

We also have flea beetles eating my Bok Choi - it's not killing the plants, but it's not making them pretty. They are also after the radishes. I think they are eating my carrots in one bed too - and those they are killing. Luckily, I planted carrots in three different spots - and the other ones are untouched. I tried a spray that I found online, but it burnt some of the leaves. So tonight, I sprinkled diatomaceous earth everywhere, hoping that will keep things in line.  I have no issues with them last year, but I'm planting a lot of different things this year.

Now onto the happy stuff!

My cucumelons (above) are the tiniest, cute as button seedlings. I hope they make it :)

My purple pod peas, and sunflowers are over two feet high in some spots :) And you can see the broccoli really flourishing (reminds me, I need to start seedlings for fall planting...).

We have been eating radishes from the garden in plenty - I have staggered plantings, so it seems there are always some ready for salads :) We have been eating lots of spinach and kale too!

My first sugar snap pea has gone to pod :D I cannot wait for these! I have a feeling they won't make it to being cooked - they are such delicious, crunchy snacks.

Most of my tomatoes have buds. I remember last year though, that the first set of blossoms never set fruit - but I'm still crossing my fingers that these do!

So gardening always has some up, downs and minor battles. But it is so rewarding.

If you have any tips to deal with these flea beetles, please let me know! :)

01 June 2015

Oh She Grows: First Blossom

My sugar snap peas have blossoms! Crunchy pea pods are not far behind - so excited :)

I'm on nights this week, so I get to enjoy mid-late afternoon all week :) Garden chores for today:
  • Weeding (love the free compost, comes with free weeds!)
  • Waging a war on pests (flea beetles, and something else)
  • Re-seeding areas that didn't come up well (or got eaten by pests)
  • Watering
  • Planting in my new garden bed (more space! Yippie!!!)
  • Harvesting - there's some more kale and spinach ready to eat :)

29 May 2015

Oh She Grows: The Gardens, an Overview

 With the garden all planted in, finally, it's time for some overview images! Things are about a week ahead of last year, and some even more! The early birds this year are peas, radishes and spinach - none of which I grew last year.

My peppers and tomatoes are more mature going into the ground as well, so maybe that will bring the around a tiny bit sooner.

I've also 'expanding' my vegetable garden to my flower gardens. We didn't do much with them last year, as it was out first summer here and I wanted to see what perianuals would pop up. Wasn't super impressed, so I thought we could put some vegetables in there, mixed with flowers. In the above corner, a tree was previously living until this spring, it was too close to the house - damaging the roof, so it had to go - opening up this now sunny corner!

Mixed amoung some Hotsa's and annuals are a tomato, pepper, kale, brussel sprouts and various vegetable seeds yet to sprout. Some pole and runner beans will climb up the teepee, giving a beautiful display of flowers that the bees and hummingbirds will love!

Along the side of the house, we have the same thing - except the beautiful garden has to live with that sight-sorry air conditioner.

I've even placed a tomato in a pot to try - not sure what it is, it lost it's label through it's growth and transplanting; and it didn't make the cut for the gardens, but it was the healthiest of what was left. The other pot is mint - so that it stays nice and contained.

There's still some tulips mixed in - I'm just letting their foliage die back a little bit more before cleaning it up.

I got these really nice square cages this year for the tomatoes - I know it seems super small now - and you might be skeptical...but let me remind you of last year:

That's my tomato jungle circa 2014. All those plants started out just as small as this one. If anything, the cage will not be enough ;)

If you're looking for some garden inspiration - this video is amazing. It about a couple that converted their front yard into a gorgeous vegetable garden. The live in Canada - so a garden like this is totally possible for many of my Canadian friends. :)

28 May 2015

Oh She Grows: All tucked in!

I awoke this morning to this lovely sight - the sun shining upon my garden, with the closest beds ready and waiting for their new friends to be all tucked in.

Having been patiently waiting - and possibly outgrowing their homes, it was time to plant my tomatoes and peppers in the garden! Yippie!!! 

I first lay out all the plants where I would like them. As you can see, I have four purchased peppers. The cat ate some of mine, again. So as luck would have it, Home Depot had them on 3/$5 - couldn't go wrong filling in the gabs! I settled on a yellow pepper, a sweet banana pepper (I grew hot banana from seed), a jalapeno (I only had one or two seedlings that made it to plant, and then survived the cat, and I really want to make pickled jalapenos), and another hot pepper (the name is escaping my mind right now).

And here we are all tucked in! I know, I know - what am I doing with that fugly landscaping fabric. Well, my peppers took a really, really long time to mature last year due to the cooler summer we had. I'm hoping this black fabric will heat up the soil more, and move things along better this time around. I did this for my tomatoes too. We will see if it makes a difference at all.

My tomatoes all tucked in! I placed my Determinate plants in cages, and I staked my Indeterminate plants.  I saw some 'tomato tee-pees' on a few blogs, and thought I might try it out.  Already, the structure is giving the garden a little more dynamic than last year :)

Also snuggled in is an eggplant - I'm not sure if I even like egg plant, or how it will do. But plants were 3/$5, and I needed one more, so I thought - heck, I'll give it a shot! Worse case: I bring the vegetables into work, and pawn them off on other people ;)