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!

Confessions of a Garden “Gone Wild”

True story: I let our gardens go a little wild this summer.

We were really lucky at the beginning of this summer. It rained every few days, and other than pulling out the occasional weeds, I didn’t spend much time in our gardens after Mother’s Day. As the summer went on, it rained less and less until we entered a drought. Even in a drought, the weeds kept growing and I didn’t stay on top of pulling them.

Last year’s drought was brutal. I spent every day hand watering our potted plants and flower beds just to keep them alive. By late summer, we lost the battle to keep our grass green, our potted plants were dying and I was exhausted. This year, I wasn’t in to spending that much time in the gardens.

Along with the drought and the weeds this year, our hibiscus plants decided they were going to take over. They not only looked overgrown, they covered up one of our sprinklers and it could no longer water the garden and yard effectively.

Instead of ripping the plants out, I wanted to transplant at least one hibiscus in the garden on the other side of the garage. However, I abandoned that idea when the plants put up one heck of a fight.

The hibiscus eventually lost the battle when I cut their roots in several pieces.IMG_7406

After I removed the hibiscus plants and the weeds, our gardens looked dramatically different.

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I also trimmed our cherry blossom bushes and dead-headed a few of the plants that were finished blooming for the summer.

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Lastly, I needed to split the bulbs for our gladiolus. Since I failed at transplanting the hibiscus, I planted the split gladiolus bulbs in the garden on the other side of our garage. Next, I’m going to plant a few spring bulbs in this garden and put down some fresh mulch.

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After I finished the gardens, the pots on our front porch needed some TLC, so I replanted them with mums and aster.

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The outside of our house is ready for fall!

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Until next time! Enjoy your home improvement projects.

Summer Time and the Decorating is Easy

I love great clearance finds at Target. With back to school season right around the corner, that means summer seasonal items are now on clearance. I love perusing Target for clearance items during these seasonal switches.

Tip: for those who are not familiar with where you can find Target clearance sales, they are sometimes found in the aisles, but they are also on the back side of the aisles. Below is a diagram of what I mean by the “back side of the aisles.”

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My latest Target clearance find is this tall teal vase. It was originally $29.99 and I bought it for $14.98.

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Sometimes you can hold out on these finds and come back a few days later when the prices are marked down even lower. However, you take the risk that the item might not be there when you return.

As soon as I saw this vase, I thought it would look great on our dining room table. I really enjoy decorating the dining room table for each season and I thought this vase would look great with some late summer decor.

I picked out the vase filler below to put in our Crate and Barrel glass vases to compliment the teal vase. The filler is a mixture of floral, greenery and seashells.

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After I added the filler, our Crate and Barrel clear glass vases looked like this:
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For the teal vase, I chose a simple flower arrangement of three sunflowers, two yellow and one white. Because the vase is so tall, if you use big thick flowers you can go simple and let the flowers lean on the edge of the vase. If you want a fuller look, you could add more sunflowers and some additional greenery or filler. You could even leave the vase empty because the color will let it stand on it’s own.

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Our completed table is bright and colorful. I’m really enjoying the color combination of teal, orange, yellow gold, white and green. I love this color combination.

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Have you ever found a great item on clearance and couldn’t wait to bring it home? What’s been your favorite find?

Summer Gardening, Part 2

In our last post, I updated you on our front flower beds. Out in the back yard, our vegetable garden is really taking off. So far this summer, we’ve harvested our first zucchini and fresh parsley.

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Our basil plant is getting really big. We need to start incorporating fresh basil and parsley into our meals so we can use more of our fresh herbs.

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One thing I’ve noticed about our vegetable garden is that it does not need much as maintenance as I originally thought. Other than continual weeding, watering and harvesting, I haven’t spent much time maintaining the garden. I bought plant food when I first planted the seedlings, but haven’t used it yet. The vegetables look like they are holding their own without the extra food.

Our corn is doing really well. I did have to stabilize the stalks a few weeks ago. They were leaning after a heavy rain storm so I put a big clump of dirt next to each stalk and although I was doubtful of my “temporary” solution, the dirt clump did the trick and the corn stalks have stood straight ever since.

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We are starting to see a few ears growing on each of our corn stalks. I can’t wait for fresh sweet corn. Out of all the vegetables we planted, I think I’m most excited to enjoy our fresh sweet corn. Hope it is delicious! fbfs_corn_2

The green beans I replanted are up and hopefully we will have fresh green beans to harvest.
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Our yellow pepper is still going strong. I’m not sure when we will see peppers growing, but I’m still hopeful.

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We have a zucchini and a spaghetti squash that may be ready to harvest in the near future.

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How are your summer gardens?

Summer Gardening, Part 1

This summer has been successful for our gardens. Our efforts started out a little rocky, especially for the vegetable garden, but now we are enjoying the fruits of our labor.

In our front flower beds, the day lilies, hibiscus, gladiolus, petunias and black-eyed susans are looking beautiful this year. Early in the summer, we experienced moderate temperatures and rain which helped keep our flowers happy. They are in better shape than they were during last year’s heat wave.

Here is a peek at our blooming flowers:

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Up next: an update on our vegetable garden.

Lilies!

Our lilies are blooming! Our lilies are blooming!

Can you tell that I’m excited? 🙂

I love spring/summer garden posts. It’s hard work maintaining a garden (as most of you know) so it’s always nice to share the fruits of our labor with those who enjoy/appreciate gardening.

I planted the lilies pictured below right after we moved into our house three years ago. Each year, the lilies keep getting bigger and more beautiful. The first to bloom this year is our stargazer lily.

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I think the lilies below are called “razzle dazzles.” They are a deep rich red color, which I really like.

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One of our tropical lilies is also blooming. Our red lily was the first to bloom this year. We also have a bright orange tropical lily.
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We are still waiting for our orange tiger lily, day lily and orange tropical lily to bloom. More updates to come!

Pinterest Picks: Summer Table Settings

Summer is almost here and I’m so excited! The first official day of summer is still a few weeks away but I’m already thinking about BBQs, picnics and pool parties.

I’m looking forward to enjoying dinners out on our patio again. To spruce up our outdoor decor, I bought this yellow-green hurricane for our patio bistro set during the Crate and Barrel 20% off outdoor sale.

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Inside of the hurricane, we added an indoor/outdoor battery-operated led candle from Target.

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Our new hurricane inspired me to put together a fun summer table arrangement for our bistro set. To find some ideas I searched for “summer table setting” on Pinterest.

Here are a few of my favorite pins:

I love how the table setting below incorporates red, white and blue as well as a coastal theme with the seashells. The yellow flowers also give off a bright summery feel.

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This table setting incorporates a few of my favorite summer colors. I love the bright yellow and green dinnerware and patterned napkins.

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I love lanterns and this table setting reminded me of our wedding. For our wedding, we incorporated lanterns as our table arrangements. We still have the lanterns and use them in our home decor.

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This summer table setting is simple and classy. The clear milk jug vases and white flowers are an elegant touch. I could definitely see us incorporating a simple flower arrangement in our own summer table setting.

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This last table setting is a fun way to use fresh fruit in a centerpiece. You could even put a cute little sign in the fruit arrangement that says “please enjoy.”

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After I looked at all of the summer table settings on Pinterest, I put together this setting  for our bistro set. What do you think?


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Getting Our Garden On: Take 2

So our first go around at a vegetable garden didn’t work out as planned. Only a few of our seedlings survived the cold weather.

After a few weeks of rain and cold, our garden looked like this:

IMG_5875 (2)All of the seedlings except for our sweet corn and some of our herbs didn’t survive. We were also left with a lot of tiny weeds.

To replace our failed seedlings, I bought a selection of mature vegetables and some garden soil from the Home Depot. These vegetables (and technically “fruits”) came in really neat biodegradable pots that you can plant straight into the ground. To learn more about the biodegradable pots and how to plant them, check out the Bonnie Web site.

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In addition to the mature plants, I also planted new green bean and red pepper seeds. I planted the seeds in garden soil in hopes that the rich soil will produce better results.

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Our sweet corn stalks are doing really well despite a few cold days. The stalks are getting pretty tall compared to when we planted them.

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How are your summer gardens going?

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Before I wrap up this post, did you notice anything different about our photos? I’m working on some upgrades to Frame By Frame Style and this is the debut of our new photo tag. Hope you like it!

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Geraniums, Gerberas, Petunias and a Calla Lily, Oh My!

We hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend. BJ and I enjoyed a few days with my parents and even did a little mowing and gardening on Monday.

To catch you up on our outdoor projects, a few Sundays ago we had an incredibly productive day. We went to Lowes in the morning to pick up a few gardening supplies and flowers, and then we went home and started planting our vegetable garden and potting plants.

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The same Sunday that I planted our vegetable garden (an update on that soon), I also planted the flower pots on our front porch.

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BJ and I chose brightly colored gerberas daisies for our flower pots. Gerberas daisies are one of my favorite flowers! BJ and I love the bright colors, which is why we also chose them as our wedding flowers.

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Earlier this Spring, my mom brought us two old ceramic pots that she stained in ceramic class when I was a little girl. We’ve had these pots in our family for a long time and my grandmother also has a set.

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When my mom offered the ceramic pots to us, I immediately thought to use them to dress up our back patio, however, after I potted them, I liked them better for our front porch. I chose geraniums for the pots in red in white.

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The Monday night following our productive Sunday, I planted petunias in the flowers beds out front.

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We had such great luck with our petunias last year that I decided to plant even more this year. Yesterday, I planted pink petunias to go along with the purple and fuchsia candy-striped petunias I planted two weeks ago.

While I was planting yesterday, I also added this beautiful calla lily to our garden.

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I think our front two gardens might be complete for a few months. 🙂 Now we just have to maintain them throughout the summer.

Here’s a view of our two front gardens. We’re building some pretty nice curb appeal!
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Getting our garden on

Our vegetable garden is officially planted! But before I show you the finished product, let’s go back a week so I can tell you all about our crazy veggie garden adventures…

Two years ago, our backyard looked like this:

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It was pretty empty.
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Last year, we added a gazebo to our patio to help spruce up the backyard and to make it a little more functional.

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This year, we decided to add a vegetable garden to our backyard. But the big question was, where should we put the garden? In order to plant our veggie garden, we first needed to decide on a place in our backyard and then measure out the appropriate space. In my last post I mentioned our plans for the patio. In order to know where we wanted to put our garden, we decided to map out patio design. From the design, we were able to take a few rough measurements and place the garden in a location that would be incorporated into the patio design down the road.

After taking the measurements for the patio design and marking off the garden using spray paint, we then used a tiller to dig up the soil.Thankfully, one of our good friends let us borrow his tiller for this project. Using a tiller was a huge time saver despite our very damp and muddy soil.

Since our yard is mostly clay, we bought top soil to lay over top of the clay. We calculated that it would take 27 40lb bags of top soil to fill our space. That’s 9080 lbs of top soil! Much to my surprise (BJ wasn’t skeptical, of course) were able to fit all the bags in my car but it was definitely riding low. Good thing we only live a few miles from Lowes!

On the evening that we chose to till the current soil and lay the new top soil, a scattered thunderstorm came through and it rained for about 30 minutes. This of course, didn’t help because we’ve had so much rain that the backyard was already damp and soupy.Once it stopped raining, BJ started tilling while I made our dinner. Gotta eat sometime, right?

After dinner and tilling, we added the top soil and laid our organic garden mat.

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It was pretty late by the time we finished laying the mat so we decided to wait until the next day to plant. In the meantime, our seedlings were growing like crazy in their starter kit.

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Then, the next over the three days it rained and was cold… so fast forward a few days to Mother’s Day.

I spent several hours on Sunday, cutting holes in the garden mat and planting our seedlings. By Sunday afternoon, all the seedlings were planted. We planted red and yellow tomatoes, sweet corn, green beans, zucchini, green and yellow peppers and a few herbs such as oregano, parsley and basil.

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Once the plants were in the ground, we covered the mat with peat moss and watered the entire garden.

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That night, BJ and I covered the entire garden to protect the seedlings from the potential frost.

After several days of planning, tilling and planting, our garden is complete. Now, we’re keeping our fingers crossed and hoping our little seedlings make it! After this year, we’ll see what crops produced vegetables and which didn’t. Next year we will adjust our game plan based on our results. Since we’ve never planted a vegetable garden before, this year will be our baseline to determine what will grow and what will not.

Do you have a vegetable garden? What vegetables and herbs do you have the most luck with each year?