Thursday, April 28, 2011

HSV Garden Challenge, Month #2

Another month, another garden check-in!

Remember how our raised bed looked last month?
Well, here it is at the end of April:

    That big white bucket in the background?  Filled with ants.  I dug the suckers up.  I learned while they didn't like the oatmeal, they just buried themselves for a while.  Digging up a portion of the colony worked better than anything else.  I haven't tried the molasses-yeast traps yet (as suggested in the comments), but I'm going to give that a shot very soon.

    Here are some of the things that are growing really well so far:


    (The package says mild, but they still have a much stronger flavor than store-bought radishes.)

    (the bees just LOVE it)

    Roma tomatoes
    (bought from a local nursery)

    (you can't quite see the little zucchini babies growing on the back of the plant, but trust me they're there)

    Pole Beans
    (one growing up a bamboo stick, the other two quickly outgrowing the sunflowers stalks)

    We're also having lots of success with our lemon thyme and pineapple mint in containers, and this week we're trying to grow new plants from cuttings.  So far so good.

    Of course, they can't all be winners.  I had to pull two cucumber plants (some sort of fungus killed them, I think), and the third is growing slowly.  That third one does have a flower now, so I'm still holding out hope for it.  Here are a few other slow-growing babies:

    Cherry tomatoes
    (In the tomato's defense, I planted these from seed late and didn't fertilize. That's just one of them in the back of the box.  The others are smaller and spread out in other places.)

    Pepper Plants
    (hot and sweet peppers, none of which are growing well; those are fertilizer pellets we threw down there in desperation this week)

    (It's just starting to grow, and I'm starting a new batch in containers in the shade that are doing better.  The ones in the box are starting to grow now that some of the larger plants are shading them.  Apparently, they needed more shade than I accounted for.)

    Our carrots are also growing slowly, but that was to be expected.  Oh, and the basil is just starting to stretch its leaves.

    Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible GardenI borrowed Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden from the library a couple of weeks ago, and I really loved it.  While the focus is on small, urban container gardens, the pictures were beautiful and the individual plant information in the back was extremely helpful.

    The girls have lost some interest in the garden.  They love to water and transplant good bugs in there, but the actual plants are less interesting.  Unless, of course, there is a radish to pull.  And my seven year old loves to pluck mint and lavender leaves to chew on as she hunts for new critters.  I'm not pushing.  There will be plenty of excitement once again when those tomatoes are ready for plucking!

    Really, I'm loving the whole experience this year.  Next I want a potato box.  Actually, I'm thinking about filling my front garden beds with potatoes.  My only hesitation is that we have sprayed for bugs in the front of the house, and I don't know how compromised that soil might be.  But I have plenty of room in the back yard.  In fact, every time I go out there, I'm mentally converting new corners into garden boxes.

    There is even talk of chickens.

    I never thought there would be talk of chickens.



    1. How very exciting! I'm a terrible gardener. I'm no good at it, and the only part I really like is playing in the dirt in the spring. Weeding and fretting in the hot summer, not so much.

      As long as the ants are in the bucket and out of the garden, how 'bout gasoline? ;)

    2. Amy, this is my first year with any measure of success (aside from growing cilantro and parsley). I credit the raised bed. And I think the ants ran aways before I decided what to do with them. I was thinking boiling water, but knowing me I'd burn myself getting a bucket of hot water outside!

    3. looking good! yay chickens!!!! i won't be showing you MY garden boxes ANYTIME soon. . .the chickens are MUCH more fun to look at around here!
      gotta love louisiana! :)

    4. Thanks, Moira!

      April, this weather's driving me nuts! I really thought I was going to lose all my tomatoes in that wind this week. Thank goodness for the rain though. My water bill really appreciates it! :)

      Yes, those chickens are adorable! Our only hesitation is the abundance of hawks that live around our house. Requires some extra planning.

    5. Looks like things are growing quite well!

    6. everything is so spectacular! we have talk of chickens too!

    7. Look at all that growth! It looks great.

    8. Your plants are really doing well! You'll be harvesting them soon:)

    9. I am so envious! There is still danger of frost here, so I can't even plant yet!

      How did you manage to dig up the ants without getting stung? You're braver than I am!

    10. Thank you all! We're definitely looking forward to harvesting more than radishes very soon. :)

      Sparklee, I'm pretty scared of the ants too (I actually have a mild allergic reaction to them, so I swell up pretty badly and run fever), but I was so angry that day I just went after them with a hand trowel!
      And . . . they're back again . . .


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