The Vegetable Garden Chronicles Part 2: Taming the Critters

It’s official: We have a rabbit problem.

This month, we planted our vegetable garden. After only one night, our neighborhood rabbits moved in and two of our zucchini plants looked like this:

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After our discovery, we developed a quick plan of action to protect the remaining plants. After researching online, we found that the best method to tame a rabbit problem is to put up a fence. Although we are not fond of the green garden fence, it was one of the most inexpensive solutions for our garden.

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For around $50, we bought two rolls of 2ft tall green garden fence and 15 3ft stakes. Just a note: if you have a deer problem, buy a bigger fence and stakes. Deer can easily scale a fence less 8ft. For cottontail rabbits, you need to install at least a 2ft fence.

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FBFS_GardenChronicles 1-13After installing the fence, we discovered that we also have a squirrel problem. We noticed a few more nibbles after the fence installation.

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FBFS_GardenChronicles 1-17Time for Plan B. We read that sprinkling chili flakes in or around the perimeter of the garden will help keep critters out because they do not like the spicy flavor. It is important to sprinkle the chili flakes at least once a week because rain and time will cause the flakes to lose their effectiveness.

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So far, the chili flakes are working and we are keeping a close eye on our plants for any more nibbles. We will keep you updated!

 

 

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The Vegetable Garden Chronicles Part 1: Plants!

It is summer growing season! The threat of frost is gone and the weather warmed up in time for us to plant our vegetable garden this month. Last year, we planted our garden in May and faced a few days of frost and then we replanted some of our vegetables because our seedlings didn’t make it.

We learned a lot from our first vegetable garden and we are putting that knowledge into our garden this year.

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Before planting, we prepped the garden by adding two bags of Miracle Gro garden soil to the existing peat moss. Next, we sprinkled vegetable plant food all over the garden and mixed it in to the soil. Finally, we watered the entire garden and let it set up overnight.

Here is the layout of our garden. We planned the layout to make sure we could strategically fit all the plants. It is a little rough, but you get the idea. 🙂

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Before we started planting, we laid out glass beads to mark the location of each plant.

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We chose a variety of seeds and mature plants. We planted zucchini, watermelon, spinach, sweet corn, romaine lettuce, several varieties of tomatoes, yellow peppers, red peppers and green beans.

The watermelon, yellow peppers, zucchini, yellow tomatoes and grape tomatoes are mature plants.

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Our globe tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, green beans and red peppers, we purchased as Miracle Gro Groables seed pods. Miracle Gro advertises that their seed pods are guaranteed to grow. A few of our seed pods are already sprouting.

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Our beans appeared about two days after we planted.

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We also planted sweet corn as seeds.

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Once the seeds are more mature, I have two bags of mulch to spread through the garden to protect the plants from bugs and weeds. Look for more updates on our garden in upcoming posts!

April Showers Brought Plenty of May Flowers

Happy Thursday! The unofficial start of summer is this weekend, but before we kick off the celebrations, I want to take a minute to update you on how our tulips did this spring.

Our tulips started blooming the week before Easter and continued all the way through mid-May. It was exciting to see the variety of tulips as they bloomed. Each week we added a new color to the mix.

I normally share photos taken with my DSLR, but I had so much fun taking photos with my iPhone this spring, that I thought I would share those with you as well.

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We also had another successful year for our hyacinths. They been coming up every spring since I planted them over three years ago. This fall, I will dig up the bulbs and split them so we can have more hyacinths next year.

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Now that the tulips are gone, it is time to trim the plants and get them ready for next spring. Look for more garden posts to come!

The Most Magical Flower and Garden Show on Earth

Last week, BJ and I snuck away for a fun vacation together. Since I was a little girl, it has been my dream to visit Walt Disney World. I signed up to go on a trip in high school, but unfortunately, the trip was cancelled due to circumstances outside of the students’ control. Since then, I told myself that I would take a trip to Disney before having children. This Christmas, BJ bought us two tickets and wrapped them inside another smaller gift and gave them to me. It was the best Christmas gift I’ve received so far. I might’ve cried… okay, I did. I cried. While we were at Disney, Epcot was celebrating the International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV. The show ended over the weekend, so if you didn’t get a chance to make it this year, here is a little peek at all the beauty that surrounded Epcot. I highly recommend visiting Epcot during the show in the upcoming years. It is neat to see all the Disney characters in flower form. EpcotFGF_1 Gardens were all over the park and the flowers were in full bloom. These dahlias caught my eye as we exited one of the rides. EpcotFGF_9 In some areas, the gardens were decorated to look like specific scenes. Many of the scenes use bright pink and red petunias. EpcotFGF_26 There were also floating flower pots on many of the ponds and lakes around the park. Each pots included different varieties of petunias. EpcotFGF_11 EpcotFGF_29 Throughout Epcot, there were themed gardens sponsored by companies such as Rain Bird. My favorite themed garden was a screened-in butterfly garden that allowed you to view hundreds of butterflies. EpcotFGF_25 EpcotFGF_24 And then there were the character topiaries. The topiaries were definitely my favorite part of the entire show. The detail was incredible. My nephew would love to see the Lighting McQueen and Tow Mater topiaries. Cars is one of his favorite movies. EpcotFGF_28 EpcotFGF_27 Here is Tinkerbell, she was located outside of the butterfly garden. She was difficult to spot, so you had to look closely to see her. EpcotFGF_23 Outside of the Epcot World Showcase, Sorcerer Mickey and his was putting his magic powers to work on the broomsticks.EpcotFGF_22 In the World Showcase, many of the characters were located in the countries they represent. For example, Woody was in the United States section of the World Showcase. EpcotFGF_14 EpcotFGF_16 Belle, Beast and friends were in France. EpcotFGF_13 EpcotFGF_12 And Captain Hook and Peter Pan were in England. EpcotFGF_6 EpcotFGF_31 Here are a few more of my favorite topiaries from the World Showcase. EpcotFGF_17 EpcotFGF_18 Even Snow White’s red lipstick and bow were stunning.  EpcotFGF_20 EpcotFGF_19 EpcotFGF_8 EpcotFGF_21 There were so many more character topiaries and other displays scattered throughout the park. There were also seasonal food stands located throughout the World Showcase. We didn’t get a chance to try any of the seasonal kitchen stands, but the foods looked and smelled delicious. The gardens all over Walt Disney World inspired me to come home and get to work on our gardens. It’s time to plant our veggie garden so I’ll have a few upcoming posts on our progress. In the meantime, look for a wrap up on our spring gardens coming later this week. We had an amazing experience at Disney World. Since it was my first visit, I learned a lot about how to navigate the parks and things to keep in mind for our next visit. I’ll share some of the things I learned in an upcoming post.

Update: Spring has sprung!

(On Sunday I discovered that the tulips that I thought were Rembrandt tulips are actually more varieties of lily tulips and our Rembrandt tulips started blooming! See below for updated pictures.)

And we’re back. It’s been a busy few months and although it was not really planned, I took a break from writing to catch up/focus on myself and our home. Since I last posted, BJ and I started a new workout routine, we started eating a healthier, more organic diet, and we also completed a few projects around the house.

To kick off our new series of posts, I first want to start by mentioning that we will be adding some new material to Frame By Frame Style. With our new organic eating, I also purchased a juicer and I will share a few of our recipes for delicious juices and other treats we are making. I also plan to share tips and tricks and resources for eating organic. I’m not an expert by any means, so as I learn new tips, I will share them with you. You can also check out my Pinterest board A Cleaner, Greener and Leaner Living for pins on healthy eating and living.

Before we dive into the healthy eating and living posts, I have an update on our flower bulb planting last year. In the fall, BJ and I planted around 150 tulip and crocus bulbs in our front yard garden beds. Now, six months later, the flowers are blooming!

First, at the beginning of April the crocuses (or croci) came up and bloomed. We planted purple, white and yellow crocuses and saw all three colors bloom.

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photo 2-2The crocuses are gone and now our tulips are coming up in stages. A few are still buds, but we have plenty that are already blooming in time for Easter on Sunday.
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The first to bloom were the lily tulips. In the evening, they close like regular tulips but during the day when they are in full bloom they open to look more like a lily. Our lily tulips are blooming in a bright pink, bright orange and a white/pink variety.

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We also planted Rembrandt tulips. The Rembrandt tulips are very bright and have pointed tips.

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I took many pictures of our tulips and this is my favorite of the tulip pictures I captured. This is a peacock tulip. They grow a little taller than the other tulips and have a softer look. 
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Here is another look at our peacock tulips. Our tulips are still blooming so look for more pictures to come. IMG_0795

I’m really thankful that we are seeing our fall planting come to fruition. It was a harsh winter for most of the United States and the Midwest experienced cold temperatures that were below -15F (-30F wind chill). I wasn’t sure if any of our flowers would make it through the tough winter but they did and I’m so glad! They will be really beautiful for Easter this year.

How did your gardens fair through the winter?

Along with the success of our planting, we are also experiencing a bit of a rabbit problem. In our side garden, the rabbits have enjoyed our tulips a little more than I would like.

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Eventually, we would like to elevate our front gardens so I’m hoping that will end our bunny problem in the future. In the meantime, I just have to cross my fingers and hope they find some wild flowers to eat that are not in our yard… or maybe they will eat our dandelions instead. One can hope.

More posts coming soon! Stay tuned. 🙂

Bulbs, bulbs, and more tulip bulbs!

Chilly weather finally set in at our house this week, but before the frost arrived, we finished prepping our garden for the coming winter and spring. It may seem a little early to start thinking about spring, but fall is a great time to plant spring flower bulbs. After watching this DIY video from Lowes, I was feeling really ambitious:

In my ambition, I decided to buy 150 tulip bulbs to plant in our garden. At first, 150 bulbs didn’t seem like that many. They came in bags of 50, so three bags seems reasonable, right? I didn’t realize how much it would take to plant 150 tulips. Not to mention the 24 crocus bulbs I also bought. Note for next time: tulips should be planted 6 inches deep and 6 inches apart.Before we started planting, I had this grand vision in my head that we would just dig a few holes and spread the tulip bulbs out. That’s not exactly what happened after I read the planting instructions.

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fbfs_tulipsgalore2 copyIn order to plant all the bulbs in one evening, I recruited BJ to help me. He agreed to dig the holes and I would follow behind and plant each bulb, 6 inches apart and roughly 6 inches deep.

I arranged the bulbs in the on the sidewalk and in the grass near the intended homes of the bulbs. Once I laid out all the bulbs, I realized how much work it was going to take to plant 150 bulbs…

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We started planting during the daylight hours and had to finish well after the dark skies set in. A neighbor walking by commented that she once ran over a tree while attempting to garden at night. I’m not sure what that meant, but I was determined to get all the bulbs planted in the same evening. It’s important to get the bulbs in the ground before the frost comes so they have a chance to survive through the winter. We were getting dangerously close to the first frost of the season.

Thanks to BJ’s help, I was able to get every last bulb planted. We touch nearly every part of the garden while planting so during the following week, I added a fresh layer of mulch, to help protect the bulbs, and tame the unsettled dirt.

As I mentioned, it was well after dark when we finished planting the bulbs so I grabbed a few photos of the gardens the next day. Here is what the unsettled dirt looked like:

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And the finished gardens with mulch: fbfs_tulipsgalore13 fbfs_tulipsgalore11


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Now that all 174 bulbs are planted, I cannot wait to see how they look in the fall. Even if we only have a 50% survival rate through the spring, that is still 75 tulips!