Saturday, August 13, 2011


We've tried growing herbs several different ways. We've put them in pots, in the garden, this year we did them in the "tipsy pots", rarely do they flourish. Basil is easy. Rosemary is easy. The rest? I've never been successful. Italian flat leaf parsley laughs in my face. So after everything in the tipsy pots died off this year, I decided to try one last thing... growing them in mason jars inside. If they were going to be in my house, they had to be cute. I bought some stones from Target and filled the jars a little way up so it had some drainage. Then I planted the herbs on top.  The flaw? When you water it the soil runs down into the rocks. So I pulled the plants out and added a small piece of screen between the rocks and the plant. Success.

So they looked pretty, but would they grow? 

Holy cow. They grew! I might have to move them out of the window since they are growing so quickly.  Even the flat leaf parsley!  We've since added a dill plant, too. It's not in the picture because I haven't put the cute ribbon on it yet. The basil is out of control. We need to cut it back a little... maybe make a mini batch of pesto?

Hopefully we'll be able to keep it going and have fresh herbs year round. Can't do that when you grow them outside!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Garden Update, July 22nd

It's HOT.  The garden is confused a little bit. Feels like August. The good news... we finally have some tomatoes!!! Still green, but they are there!!  I'm ready for something red. Everything we've brought in so far has been green. It's getting a little boring.  We'll regret complaining about these tomatoes taking so long though... we're going to get TONS at one time.

Just to update on our red mulch & silver mulch experiment... it was a bust! The picture is a little small, but hopefully you can see how scrawny the plants on the left are (on the mulch) and how full and healthy the ones on the right are (without the mulch). We lost three of our four zucchini plants on the silver mulch this year. The tomato plants over there look awful, but are finally producing a little. The grass is growing  through the sides, up through the buckets, through the holes around the plants. We will say that the silver mulch did help control the bugs as promised. We still had some, but not as many as last year.

 We've also been preserving lots of food, too.  We've blanched & froze lots of zucchini, cabbage (yup, we  froze cabbage!), bell peppers and  jalapenos... lots & lots of jalapenos!!

Hoping to make some pepper jelly this weekend... one of our favorite ways to use all of our peppers. We have about 10 more bell peppers growing out there right now and lots of jalapenos!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Garden Update, June 17th

So sorry for the lapse in updates! I haven't been very good about updating. We've been busy and honestly, there's a lot I should still be doing right now instead of blogging! Oh, well!

Everything has really taken off. May was SUPER HOT here! I think our spring veggies had no idea what was going on.  I'll take you on a little photographic update of what's going on in the garden this week!

 Carrots are growing!

The process of preserving has begun. I actually don't like eating plain bell peppers, but like to have them on hand do use in things. Easiest way to keep them from going bad is to slice them into strips and freeze them individually on a cookie sheet and then put them in an air tight container. That way they don't freeze into a clump and you can pull out whatever you need as you need them. Same for jalapenos. I just recommend using gloves when you clean and slice them. Learned that the hard way!

Harvest to date:
Broccoli- 5*
Romaine Lettuce- 3*
Bell Peppers- 2
Snow Peas- 301
Jalapenos- 7
Strawberries- 289*
Asparagus- 41*
Cucumbers- 3
Zucchini- 5
Blueberries- 25

* things that are finished growing

(things we tried, but had no luck with):
Leaf Lettuce
Chinese Cabbage

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Red Mulch & Silver Mulch

I had seen some things about plastic mulch so we started to do some research. There are a few gardening companies that sell red mulch, silver mulch, green mulch, etc.  Each has its own purpose. It's basically a sheet of plastic that you lay down in your garden to prevent weeds serve at least one other purpose. Red mulch is supposed to increase yield of tomatoes. Silver mulch is supposed to naturally repel certain insects (it's reflective, so I guess it confuses their little eyes?). Those are the two we decided to try this year. We planted our zucchini on the silver mulch because they were overgrown with weeds and eaten up by bugs last year. We planted tomatoes in the red mulch.

The issue with the plastic mulch is that it's not permeable, so you typically have to run soaker hoses underneath it to keep the plants watered.  On the way to work one day I thought, why don't we cut off the bottom of some two liters and put one (upside down) next to each of the plants. Kinda like those AuqaGlobe things. Jeff did it one better. He cut a hole in the middle of the "mulch" and dropped in a five gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom. This way we can add water to the bucket or it can collect rain water when it rains to water the veggies.

You can't see the tomatoes in the picture above... they are still pretty small since we started them from seeds. What you can see is our fast growing snow peas behind them!

We did have two nights of light frost last week, but everything seemed to hold up pretty well. And so far this week we've gotten some broccoli and quite a few strawberries out of the garden!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Garden Update, April 24th

I think I left out pictures of the potatoes last time. They are loving all the rain we've had and have taken off. Since our wonderful Tennessee ground is rocky and hard and mostly clay, we have to grow backyard potatoes a little differently. The last few years Jeff has built "barrels" out of hardware cloth (wire mesh). As the plant grows he covers it with more dirt. The potatoes grow up along the stem underground. We know they are ready when the plant on top wilts and dies off.  The last few years we have had several very small potatoes. This year looks like we'll get quite a few!

We got five cucumber plants and four zucchini plants in the ground yesterday. We used silver mulch for our zucchini to hopefully keep the bugs off of them this year and the weeds down. I'll post more on that later.

Last week, Jeff planted four jalapeno and four bell pepper plants. We mainly grow these to make pepper jelly... yum.  They both freeze really well, too.

Check out the "What We're Growing" page on the right column to see a list of what we're growing.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Garden Update, April 10th

It's been a couple weeks since the last update. The weather here has been all over the place, so we've not been doing tons out there. Our frost date is this Friday, so it's we'll be hitting things pretty hard soon!

As you can see there are quite a few blooms:

I got the herbs in the pots today... at least 2/3rds! For the second year and a row, I haven't found any flat leaf parsley yet. I'll try again tomorrow. We've got Greek Oregano and Cilantro in there now.  The broccoli has also started coming to life. Still not very big though.

Our sugar snap peas have found their way out of the ground (yum!). The strawberries we planted this year seem to be duds, but our strawberries from last year (that we thought wouldn't produce much this year) have flowers all over them. So hopefully we'll have strawberries soon.  We've also gotten tons of asparagus... probably more than 30 spears, which is much more than last year.

We, with the rest of the world, went to Lowe's after church and got jalapeno, bell pepper, and zucchini plants. Hopefully we'll get our tomatoes and cucumbers started soon too!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First Harvest!

May not look like much, but it's always fun to bring your first veggies of the year into the kitchen! Jeff snipped seven spears of asparagus yesterday and there are about 12-15 more growing still! They will make a nice addition to our salad tonight!