The First Cucumber

And here it is! The first cucumber of the year! Successfully grown by Jude!

We have a total of eight cucumber plants spread among out various gardens. Notice how they like to hide.

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Finally, Our Fairy Garden

Jude has always admired the fairy garden at the Enabling Garden in town. A talented gardener makes her own houses out of knotted logs, adding a roof and a door made from a collection of twigs. For the past few years, she’s added a fairy beach made with blue fish aquarium pellets. And there’s lots of little furniture around the little community, a hammock, pebble walking paths, bridges, and so on.

Jude has always delighted in this, so he asked if we could have one. After lots of searching, we found a set that we liked. And as soon as it arrived, Jude, Morris, and Cousin Harper set it up among the flowers we planted for it earlier. One house with a walking path, one chair, one garden globe, and two fairies. Jude wanted to add a pond, too, so he brought out the giant shovel to dig a hole, along with our fish aquarium, to scoop hand-fulls of pebbles from one to the other.

I think they did a great job! (And the cat likes it, too!)

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Growing

Here they come! Little baby tomatoes are bulbing. Tiny, pokie cucumbers are growing with a yellow flower on one end. Adorableness in the garden.

And, of course, my boys are growing. Since last June, they grew over three inches!

Rex: 62”  (59.5” June 2017)

Jude: 58”  (55.5”)

Morris: 48”  (45.5”)

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OH My Weeds…

We’ve only ever gardened in raised beds, and therefore, we’ve never had to worry too much about weeds. Sure, we’d get a few here and there last year, but this year… we are overwhelmed with weeds. 

Last year, Tyler sowed grass near our beds, and this year, both grass and weeds are growing great in the beds… Oops. Rex noticed first, and on his own volition, weeded his garden to make it look better. Jude’s and Morris’s isn’t quite so bad, as green bean plants are taking up room, but my mostly bare garden is full of them. So, we laid some landscape fabric down in Rex’s and mine, which he said looks ugly and messy. I’ll remove it once the plants are growing better.

The real weedy nightmare is at the community garden. I’m a little embarrassed with the donation plot, as it is so full of thistles (I was told the thistles were accidentally tilled last season, and they’ve multiplied.) and too many weeds between rows of green bean and tomato plants. I think some of the weeds hogged the space for the green beans to sprout, so I also have some empty spaces where green bean plants should be. Shoot. Our family plot isn’t much better, although it doesn’t have thistles and more green bean plants made it.

I decided that I don’t have time to come weed every night, so I came up with a solution: landscape fabric and black mulch. At least, I think it will help.

Oh my hotness, what a job it was! I had to get it done, and I picked the coolest day of the week, but it was still 88 degrees. The boys weeded tiny, but densely populated areas of the gardens. They were troopers, but all three ended up sitting in my truck as soon as they were done (for fear I’d make them do more?). I finished the job: cutting, then staking the fabric, slitting the fabric for the plants to come through, cutting fabric around tomato plants, then laying the mulch between all the plants. Geesh, I hope it helps.

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Planting Our Home Gardens

We planted our home garden the third week of May. I’m better about knowing what to do on my own  – such as purchasing plants and seed packets (…because if I bring the boys along, it will take twice as long and surely give me a headache from over-stimulation and cause me to yell at them over something trivial like which green bean packets to buy. This is, of course, the opposite of how I want them to remember gardening.) – and when to call in the boys: to plant a few of their favorites in their garden.

So, one Tuesday afternoon I purchased most of what we needed and had the boys plant what they wanted. I did the rest.

Last year, Jude ripped Rex’s chives out of his garden as a naughty way to torture his brother, so I know this planting gig can go sour quickly, especially if I expect them to do too much. They get bored waiting for me and give in to mischievous garden acts.

Rex wanted to plant his cucumbers, one of his two tomatoes and his chilli red. I planted the other tomato and his basil.

Jude wanted to plant all of it, from cucumbers to green bean seeds to yellow tomato plants. He gets into gardening the most.

Morris wanted to do the seeds, and it is so sweet watching his little hands drop the seeds in the holes. He is especially nurturing with the plants, gathering dirt into a mound around the stem with his little six year-old hands. He likes to plant most of his garden on his own, too.

I added herbs to mine, and Jude selected a few flowers to plant for our fairy garden. Then, we were done!

A New Garden!

We are trying to sell our house this summer, and the thought of NO garden for a season spooked me. What if we sell early, and I don’t have any cucumbers to watch, no buds to enjoy, nothing to water or weed? I need a garden. And the boys really need a garden for the same reasons, PLUS a place to use some energy and learn about growing things.

So, this season, we rented two plots at the Altoona Community Garden. One plot is for us, for our cucumbers, tomatoes, and so on, just in case we would sell our home early. And the other plot is for donating to the Food Bank or Senior Center. I thought the boys might like giving some of their great grows to others who will enjoy them.

I expect we will also learn a lot from other gardeners, as every gardener has their own tricks, preferences, and ideas.

We’re keeping it pretty simple in these gardens and basically planting the same things in each plot: three tomatoes (early girl and roma), many green bean plants (Who doesn’t love green beans in summer?), and two cucumber plants. Our garden has a hot pepper plant and a zucchini. The plot for donations has two eggplant plants. We are to weigh and record any amounts we donate this growing season, so more of that to come.

My Growing Boys 2018

It’s year three of My Growing Boys, and the boys know what to do. When I casually asked them what they wanted to grow this season, Rex told me to get the garden grid printed out so he could fill it out. Okay, so right to business.

I used my usual Square Foot Garden websites to help them select their veggies, and we filled the grids out in between them playing rounds of Fortnite in the basement. Whatever works.

There were not really any surprises selected. Jude had a strong preference to “grow yellow tomatoes like last year,” Rex wanted his garden to “look clean,” and Morris wanted to try a squash along with lots of carrots. Otherwise, lots of basics: tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, peas, chives.

Jude has always wanted to have a fairy garden, so we’re setting aside part of my garden for that little community. The other half I’ve reserved for herbs and tomatoes. And Ty told me just to pick the plants for his garden – no preference – but I know it’s therapy for him to harvest and snack at the same time at the end of a busy day, so I picked green beans and smaller tomatoes for his garden because they have a high yield.

Soon, it will be time to plant!