First Year Asparagus

Since deciding we are going to increase the size of our garden, I thought it might be a good idea to do a few perennial beds.

I have strawberries, mint, and now asparagus. In order to know how to plant asparagus, I did a quick Youtube search and I found this video. 

I didn’t really test my soil or add anything to it. Every year, I just get top soil. If I have a problem, then I usually look into doing something about it. Lazy gardening method? Maybe.

I got first year crowns at the end of April (a little late to plant them) but figured I wouldn’t be able to harvest the first year anyway.

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I watered the bed daily but it too FOREVER for the sprouts to come up. I actually thought maybe they weren’t going to grow at all. It took about a month. Finally small sprouts started shooting up and then eventually turned into ferns.

IMG_2398I don’t have to do anything at all the first year because they are establishing the root system. Makes one less raised bed to worry about. And since we aren’t planning on going anywhere, we will have asparagus for the next 15-20 years. Pretty cool, huh?

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2015 Garden Tour

Good morning everyone! It has been a rainy few days here in PA. Although I loved not watering my garden, the weeds are a bit out of control now.

As mentioned in my last post, I’ve been blogging just not here. I have not lost my interest in gardening at all. Being in the garden is peaceful and I often wonder why I waited so long to even start gardening. I didn’t start until 2012. It *may* have had to do with the fact that I was a teacher. I had no time and I was exhausted.

I was texting a friend last night about report card comments and I don’t miss that at all. In fact, there are very few things I miss about teaching. I only need to spend a short time talking to my teaching friends to remember why I quit.

It’s 7am here and I’ve already went to the gym, went to breakfast with Tony (it’s his last day of school today with kids), took pictures of the garden, and cleaned the kitchen. That’s what happens when you’re not exhausted all the time. You get up early and get stuff done. 🙂

And so, it’s time to blog here for the first time in a while. I’m going to start with a garden tour. Here’s my 2015 garden.

 

 

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In the raised bed above, I have stringless bush beans and Zinnias. In the bed below, I have peppers, tomatoes, sweet olive tomatoes, and cucumbers.

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Then I have potatoes and sunflowers! I planted the potatoes in containers last year, which worked, but it just seemed like more work.

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The bed below doesn’t look like much but a bunch of weeds, but that’s where I started my asparagus this year. Part of the bed is also giant zinnias, which I’ll use to create fresh bouquets in the house.

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Look! Here’s a close up!

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The garden paths:

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Zinnias, apple mint, sunflowers, and wildflowers. I also have a strawberry bed, but didn’t take a picture of that or my potting area.

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Below is a sign I made using an old kitchen cabinet door. I spray painted it white and sanded through the top. I then added the vinyl words (I made using my Cricut machine) and sprayed it with a UV protective clear coat.

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Today is Tony’s last day of school with students, which I’m excited for! He will still go two days next week, but after that we have big plans for the garden. I’ll be fun having him home! I always love the summers spent with him.

For the last few months, have been collecting reclaimed wood and old windows. We are expanding the garden & building a greenhouse out of old windows. I’ll blog about that progress too, but the garden should double in size! And I think the greenhouse is going to be amazing!

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And we can’t forget about the salvaged bricks we found for free to build a path. Cheesecake is trying to eat my flowers here and not interested in the bricks at all.

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~Sondra

Mud Sale: April 12th

 

 

 

 

This was a new experience for me, not because I’ve never been to a Mud Sale, but because I went without Tony. My husband usually comes along-he helps me bid (I can be in two places at once), assists me get everything I bought, and loads things into the truck for me. Going alone was a new experience that I was nervous about, but with the husband being out of town it was a perfect distraction.

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If you didn’t catch my last Mud Sale post in 2013, let me tell you a little bit more:

  • It’s organized and run by Amish volunteers to benefit the local fire companies. All the items are donated and the profits go straight to the fire company.
  • It’s an all day event- lasting from 7:00-7:30am- 2-3pm.
  • There are quite a few auctions going on at the same time: 2 separate plant auctions, crafts, antiques, horses, building materials, yard equipment, quilts, and all sorts of other stuff.
  • When I attend a new sale, in order to know where to go I just follow the crowd of people.
  • If you want to get the best deals you have to wait until people get tired and go home. Or go to a mud sale when it’s raining or extremely hot. Mud Sales are being advertised much better now thanks to social media, so I can’t always find the best deal. Usually bad weather keeps people away.
  • You don’t have to carry any of your stuff to the car or truck. The little Amish boys will do all of that for you, I give them a tip.
  • I always bring my own chairs- I set one up at each tent I’m going to be bidding at. The seats they provide fill up quick.

This year I went in search of a few things- perennials, wood crates, and something to hang on my garden fence for decoration.

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They had crates! I only paid $3 each, but at our local craft store they are $12 each.

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There a lot of flowers and I did manage to get a good price on some decorative grass.

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For the garden fence, I bought stars I’m going to paint. Hopefully it looks okay. I had my eye on these cute wood daisies, but they went for almost $20 each (WAY TOO MUCH). So, instead I bought 7 stars for $12. That was more affordable for me.

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It was a great day even without Tony there. And I leave you with something you don’t see everyday.. (Don’t worry I took this picture when I was stopped in bumper to bumper traffic).

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And this is what the Amish kids do when the sale is just about over- It’s hard to see, but they are all playing volleyball.

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Finally! I Won’t Kill my Garden!

What am I most excited about? Not killing my entire garden next month. Last year, July ended and August began and I killed my entire garden. Nothing was picked, watered, or weeded. It completely died (except for a few peppers which needed little care).  Why? I began setting up my classroom for a new school year. I started putting in endless hours copying, organizing, planning, and getting ready for my fifth graders.  Yes…in the beginning of August.  I do wish others could see how much time and energy actually goes into preparing a classroom and maybe, just maybe, all the “but teachers have summers off” would stop.

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Many teachers will be in their classrooms this week and I will not be one of them.  Although I didn’t get out of setting up a classroom completely, as I did help a friend, it was a completely different (enjoyable) experience.

Along with not killing my garden, I am enjoying some other firsts:

  • Not freaking out about seeing school supplies in stores. BTW, supplies started showing up in the beginning of July and I smiled instead.
  • Not spending money on school supplies (I would be embarrassed to tell you how much I actually spent last year, besides I’m not sure you’d believe it).
  • Saving some serious money on gas (I had an hour commute each way). Final savings: About $200-$250 a month!
  • Finally, NO school nightmares! There is nothing worse than waking up to some bizarre dream about how you messed something up that was expected of you!

I am still trying to figure out what I miss about teaching this time of year.. So far, I am almost sad to say, there is not too much. The biggest thing would be seeing my colleagues and hearing about their summer. I guess that’s what Facebook is for. 😉 And I am absolutely sure, I will miss the newness of the school year when the students arrive.  I loved seeing their little, excited faces.

So, I’m actually taking care of my garden. Imagine that, I will actually have time to do that.  And I’m happy to say the garden is kind of out of control. Well, the watermelon and cantaloupe are out of control (even with the trellis built). Can you see the two watermelon?

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And a closer look:

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My peppers in one bed are in fantastic shape and are growing well. However, in the other bed,  the bugs are having a feast. I think I have it under control now though 😦

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And my bug-eaten peppers:

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My Roma tomatoes are growing, but seem smaller than usual. Any suggestions?

Overall the garden is in terrific shape along with my stress-level 🙂