The Back Garden

Well, my original dreams for this garden have changed some. Originally, it was going to be a potato garden. We planted twelve seed potatoes, but nothing grew. Then, Jude planted green beans in those spots, and the plants grew quickly. 

We also located all of our vines here (except for Morris’s squash plant). Here, Morris picks his favorite zucchini: two now, which we’ve eaten as zucchini fries. We also have pumpkins growing! One plant has one big guy. One plant has three small ones. And, a final squash plant is here, but it’s not nearly as ambitious as Morris’s. This is a fun garden to visit!

Cucumber Time

It’s time for each boy to pick cucumbers hanging from their vines. The trellises are getting heavy and starting to lean, especially Rex’s who has about four right now. The boys are the most excited picking these. They marvel and compare how large they are. Then, they use them as swords and guns and run around. 

Later, I make pickled cucumbers: a batch for us, a batch for Grandpa. Ours have onions and dill. They’re a refreshing summer treat!

Oops, There’s Something Viney in Morris’s Garden!

It’s true. We learned last season that it’s not a great idea to plant a zucchini in our planters. But guess who wanted a zucchini in his garden? Morris, of course. And, when we found a zucchini plant from my starts, guess what we found out it is NOT? A zucchini. So, instead, we have a sprawling vine, which is either a squash or a pumpkin. That is to be determined! But either way, it’s too big!

And then, we found out, it is a squash plant! And it’s wrapping its vines around Mo’s garden once, and now twice. It’s huge! 

Everything is a Competition

How do you get boys out in their gardens to weed and harvest? Competition. Rather, the boys came up with the competition, as they turn everything into a competition. OH, and there’s money involved.

First, we have the largest cucumber competition. Rex wins.

Then we have the most green beans collected in 7 minutes. Morris picks 70, Jude picks 75, and Rex wins with 79.

Then, we have the longest green bean. Rex and Jude tie. 

Morris is fine. Rex gets $11 (or more. I can’t remember. I just needed them to get it done!).

Jude’s Fairy Garden

Jude has loved fairy gardens since the magical one appeared at the Enabling Garden. Over the past two years, he’s collected gnomes, homes, knights, and little novelties (wishing well, signs, pathways). He definitely wanted one this year, near his cucumber plants, his gnomes shaded by green bean trees.

Growing Great! (one week later) and Radishes!

Wow! It never takes long when the weather is warm, the sun shines, and we remember to water the gardens. Little radish sprouts came first (within 3 days), all in a row, so we knew they weren’t weeds to pick. Green bean plants rose from the ground like sleepy bodies within a week, and their leaves grew large quickly. 

The tomato plants I grew from seed are doing well; the main stalk is thickening, and they are growing taller. And the cucumber plants are looking stronger, and maybe ready to climb in a week. The boys are excited!

And then, three weeks later, we have lots and lots of radishes. Morris notices and picks his first, and then Jude has an abundance. 

We have more than we can eat, so we give some to Grandpa and Aunt Heidi. 

…Planting 2

On planting session 2, boys planted their tomato plants first. Jude loves yellow tomatoes, so I bought one from the store, and he planted 3 from home (cherry and beefsteak). I also bought him cherry hot peppers, something new to try. Rex planted a rosemary plant I bought per his request, 2 tomato plants from home, and 2 hot peppers I bought. Morris only wanted one tomato plant (as he doesn’t like them much, he said), but definitely wanted his zucchini plant in his garden. We’ll see how this one does as the last one overwhelmed the garden. He also got two hot peppers, too: the boys like the challenge of eating them. 🙂  

And then the boys were done and not interested in doing anything else (which is normal). So, I planted rows of radishes and green beans. Morris requested peas. And, there were some left over herbs, kale, leeks, etc. that I planted where ever there was room.

On a side note, it’s important to give my boys plenty of water! Thanks to Aunt Heidi for that!

Plant 1 and…

Honestly, planting is not a favorite activity of the boys’. They prefer the picking, which I understand. (And I enjoy watching everything grow.) Who doesn’t like to pull a whopper cucumber from the vine or snack away on sun-warmed tomatoes?

The cucumbers are a very favorite of all three boys, so on the first day of planting, the cucumbers – 4 in each boys’ gardens – was the main accomplishment. All 12 plants were started by seed in our home, and I’m really, really hoping they make it. 

Garden Grids

Every season, I pull up the same square foot gardening picture to help the boys plan their gardens. I hand them a piece of paper with a 6 by 4 grid, and they write the names of the plants they want to grow in each square. They’re so used to this, even though they only do it once a year. And, they know exactly what they want for most of their garden. They love the abundance of cucumbers, the surprises of a radish, and especially, herbs they can snack on any time they visit their box. 

Morris’s garden had a surprise this spring when his chives sprung up from last season. Rex and Jude were jealous; chives are a favorite, and I get used to boys with chive breath when we’re near our gardens together. 

Here are their picks for the season:

I try to honor their choices, although some years, I have to trade a few items. Notice they didn’t pick anything fancy – no kohlrabi, for example – but they’re more experienced and prefer the items that can be picked for weeks, like cherry tomatoes.