Garden Update: June 12, 2014

It’s raining. So, what does a gardener do when it rains? She updates her gardening blog. A lot has been happening in the garden, but I haven’t had much energy to update this blog when I’ve been actually gardening. But it’s growing!!



Potatoes, bush beans, tomatoes:



More potatoes and mint:



Potatoes growing in a crate:


Cutting Gardening in progress-sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos: This picture is a bit blue, but you get the point. 



I’m using watering system this year. If it works this year, I’m going to hide the hoses, but right now I really wanted to just see how it would do. Tony is in charge of watering my garden this week, so I wanted to quick install everything so he had less work.




I got them at Walmart at the end of the season. They were originally $20 a pack, but I got them for 75% off and two from my brother-in-law for my birthday. I used 5 packs in the entire garden. I got them to stay by using a tent stake I bent to fit the hose. Each stake was $0.79 at Ace Hardware.


A few reclaimed accents:


Another use for an old chicken crate:



I drilled holes in a wash tub and now it’s a planter for sunflowers and cosmos. My apple mint is a bit out of control here, you can’t even see the rusty mower in the back.



My little guy. He HATES coming into the garden because he usually ends up getting sprayed by the hose at some point.




And last, but not least the flowers are finally blooming:





Why Do I Garden?

I was down in the garden yesterday for almost 2 hours harvesting and pruning. I got quite the collection of tomatoes and decided yesterday was a good time to make sauce. I will be blogging about that later. 🙂


Anyway, when I was in the garden for such a long time yesterday I started thinking about why I have a garden if it is so much work. I mean really? Why? Besides vegetables why put in all that work? There is really one reason, the beauty of the garden. There is just something about being surrounded by flowers that is so wonderful. Some people run to clear their minds, which I do sometimes, but gardening gives me a chance to think. I don’t think I’m alone here either. I know most gardeners can relate. The fact that I get so many vegetables is an added bonus.

imageedit_16_8333711944It was really neat watching the butterflies who didn’t seem to mind me snapping away with my camera. I must have taken at least 20-30 pictures of this little guy.


I also love the Butterfly Bush in my garden that attracts so many butterflies. I think next year I’ll get another one for the other side of my garden.


I don’t think you can argue with the beauty here either.


T.J. also enjoyed the garden, as he just sits to watch everything around him. 🙂 He’s my gardening buddy.


So there’s really nothing special about today’s post, but I wanted to share the beauty of my garden with you. If you garden, why do you garden?

Creative Planter Ideas

What makes a good planter? For years, I would just buy a few potted plants, throw them in different (more decorative pots) and call it a day. However, since I started my garden, I am a little more interested in actually adding a bit of depth to the planters. Instead of using new pots purchased at a store, I’ve been reclaiming a few old ones. The payoff is huge! In most of my planters I try to make sure there is a tall plant (grass or tall flowers), a spark of mid-level color and something that drapes down from the basket, like vines. Nothing fancy, but they do look great! There are a few planters I wasn’t able to layer.

Planters with Some Character: 

1. Old Wash Buckets/Cans: I love these! I swear sometimes I was born in the wrong time period. While others see junk, I see potential!



2. Watering Trough: I am most excited about this because it’s so large and I can just plant in it like a flowerbed. To save some soil and help with drainage, I did layer plastic bottles on the bottom.


3. Watering Can: I didn’t do anything creative here with plants (I just stuck a plant in the container).


4. Old Egg Basket with Burlap- I wish the Geraniums were actually in this picture, but I cut off the dead part. They will regrow, but for now there is a wide open space in the middle.


3 Other Ideas for Plants: 

1. This is how I added a little color to our plain old fence. I used petunias and ornamental sweet potato vines (these are my favorite for planters, but they do require regular watering). The vines do not actually grow potoatoes, but they will keep growing to hang off the basket.


2. The next picture is the window outside my garden shed. I love these window boxes! I used old burlap instead of those expensive baskets at craft stores. It holds up great and adds character to the boxes.


3. You’ve seen this on a previous post before, but I used old shutters for all of my raised beds. They worked great! The best part is they are meant for outside, so they hold up in the weather.  I sanded/repainted and lined the inside (I was afraid of lead paint in my veggies!)


I have other ideas, but there are just not enough hours in a day to complete all of them. Already working on “Part 2”

Gardening Summer Bucket List

Since it rained just about all day, I didn’t work outside today. Instead, I have created a “Gardening Summer Bucket List” in hopes that I actually accomplish more projects around the garden. Last year, I didn’t do as much as I wanted to do because I simply did not make a list. So, here goes…

  • Build blueberry boxes around my blueberry bushes so they have more soil
  • Make a ladybug house out of sticks and hope spiders don’t find it! Ladybugs are good for the garden- spiders, not so much.
  • Mulch around flower beds (hoping to cross this off this week)
  • Cover raspberries (with a cage)- out of old materials of course!
  • Build a tire retaining wall- This is really Tony’s project. Since Tony works on cars too, we have a lot of old tires sitting around. Hoping to recycle some of these instead of sending them to a landfill.
  • Keep up with the garden (that’s the picture from 2012, it looks a bit different now, but it’s still the same goal).




  • Trim trees above shed for more sunlight
  • Put lights up/ wire electric, so I can spend more time in the garden
  • Stain fence – clear coat to protect it
  • Post about glass plate flowers (yes, I’ve already made these, but haven’t posted)
  • Attend Mud Sale!  Lancaster county is the best place for Amish Mud Sales. One is coming up in two weeks. It’s the best auction for plants, crafts, and antiques.
  • Work on making more decorative planters- There are some really great ideas here, but of course I will post mine at some point. (The picture below is from 2012 also, I have different plans for the year)


  • Visit a yard sale just to find planters
  • Organize my garden shed- I found some great ideas- Better Homes and Gardens offers some GREAT tips!
  • Create door knob hooks outside
  • Make sweet tea- from apple mint plants. I know there are tons of benefits to apple mint too!
  • Repaint garden shutter boxes- the paint is beginning to chip
  • Trellis made out of old ladder for cantaloupe and watermelon
  • Visit habitat for humanity store and find a project to make
  • Create garden markers using circuit- I really like the idea of using wooden spoons. I wonder if I can find those at a yard sale.
  • Garden with my nieces and nephews- They always love it!
  • Visit mom’s garden and do a blog post- My mom has a pretty large garden and they are expanding each year.
  • Pick cherries at a local orchard- I always pick cherries at Cherry Hill Orchard. Cherry picking season is now! There is about a 2 week window, then sour cherries come in at the end of the month.
  • Make jam
  • Can peaches! I love the idea of fresh peaches all year! And I know what I’m putting in them! I found useful canning tips on Simple Bites. 
  • Canning with my aunt- we will probably make salsa, but she cans so much! I have a lot to learn from her.

My personal (non gardening) Bucket List:

Along with my “Summer Bucket List” board on Pinterest, here are a few more:

  • Cruise to the Bahamas! I am so excited for this!
  • Florida visit with Grandmother
  • Make a pillow case dress for my niece
  • Spend time on the deck making s’mores (please ignore the


  • Shaving cream water slide (I know one of my nieces or nephews would love this)
  • A milkshake from Son’s– They have a TON of milkshake flavors, but my favorite is Oreo! Yummy!
  • We also just bought a camper at a permanent place, so I am hoping to reupholster all the cushions, make the curtains, and paint the inside (it’s a little dated)

Needless to say, I have a lot on my list! I am a little ambitious.  I am super excited to blog about it too. Do you have a summer bucket list? If so, do you have anything I should add?