Tuesday Garden Party, March 13, 2012

Happy Garden Party Tuesday!  First of all I want you all to know that I am having a really hard time leaving comments on some of the posts.  I cannot seem to read the weird writing to verify I am real.  I actually tried the first one, no lie, 20 times and I could not get it correct!  So I tried the audio.  Am I supposed to type every word they say or just one?  If someone can help I can leave more comments!

Having said that, we had a rough week, really rough.  Nothing to do with us, but DH and I were called on to support another issue for another family.  We are salt of the earth types who help out no matter how well me may or may not know the people involved.  So the only yard chores I got done were cleaning up after my little dog!  I did manage to water a few things, but we have had a lot of rain and storming this week. 

So nothing really done this week, but I do have some pictures taken:

Our garlic, first try, planted in November 2011.


The half wine barrel herb garden, still growing through the winter......

It looks I have also started my second block of the month club, The Farmer’s Wife, so I have been doing more cutting since I am sharing my templates with a friend.  We are gearing up for a master bathroom remodel too, so I got finished cleaning it out today, moving everything we use to the front bathroom.  I also finally finished getting rid of or finding a spot for the rest of the kitchen stuff after our kitchen cabinet paint job.


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Tuesday Garden Party!!!! March 6, 2012


Can you tell I am excited??  I cannot believe 24 people have already shared.  I cannot wait to read each entry!  First of all, I live in Humboldt County, California zone 9b, which means we can grow year round.   We have had a dry winter and luckily I pruned and cleaned up at the end of the season.

Around January 1st, my 82-year old mother came over to prune my roses and ended up showing me a much better method of weeding than kneeling on my little pad and yanking with my gloved hands.  She used a pitchfork to dig into the ground, loosen the weeds, then bends over to shake them out and toss them in a pile or bucket or what have you.  She, as usual, completely outworked me!

We still had beautiful roses in January, buds anyway, but mom was brutal and trimmed them all back really well.

We have been planning to redo our side yard in the front for a while and last weekend, DH spent his time doing just that, or getting started anyway.

Just to refresh your memory, here is what it looked like last year:

That’s April and here is July

That’s our darling former neighbor…miss her so much….

Anyway the side yard…mmmm yes….the planter box was falling apart and volunteer plants abounded and let’s face it with my fibromyalgia, I need lower maintenance, so we are redoing it with black ground cover stuff and pots.  We really need to trim that juniper bush bad.  For some reason, DH hates to cut back anything….I’m sure he thinks it is too much work, so I may have to take matters into my own hands!

This is a bouquet DH picked from our yard for my book club last week:

And here is my Valentine’s Day gift from the local www.millerfarmsnursery.com:

So cute.  I love it.  Okay that’s enough for the first week.  I have some garlic growing and other things going on, but tonight is block of the month club at the local quilt shop and I have to go make dinner.  But I do want to add two things.  First I tried Jamie’s Artisan bread finally and it turned out great.  Our Friday night dinner guests loved it and we ate the entire first loaf:

You can see I already cut off a piece and ate it before guest arrived…yum!  Get that recipe and join in our garden fun at Jamie’s blog: www.anoregoncottage.com  and if you want to see some garden eye candy, follow me on Pinterest at:


Until next week!




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Tuesday Garden Party


Well I brought my basket of most used gardening tools and my Webster, along with my sewing machine, lots of fabric, books and quilting/sewing gadgets to my daughter’s house here in Reno, Nevada.  I figured maybe her yard would need work, but it doesn’t really.  Instead I used my breast cancer kneeler to clean her refrigerator!

I went to a growing garlic and onion seminar Saturday and at least now know why my first attempt at growing onions did not work.  So I am ready to get on the garlic/onions at the appropriate times for Humboldt County, CA (zone 9).  Garlic should be planted in October and onion sets in January.  Boy was I off!  No wonder those onions never really grew.

In talking with the teacher about blight, a real problem I have had with my grafted tomatoes, she says she has only watered hers once and they are doing great.  So obviously I overwatered my tomatoes.  We have gotten a few, but the blight is spreading through the plant.  I thought for sure DH would not want to try again, but he does, so at least now I know even more! 

Miller Farms Nursery in the town where I live gives seminars throughout the year.  I am going to be attending as many as I can.  My 82-year-old mother likes to go with me too. 

So I will be home Saturday.  Hopefully DH waters tonight before he leaves for hunting tomorrow.  My flowers usually last through October.  I try to move my pots from around the front porch and will again decorate like last year.

For inspiration, be sure to check out the participants at the garden party at www.anoregoncottage.com.



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Tuesday Garden Party, July 19th, 2011

Well DH brought home little tomatoes and fresh basil from the farmer’s market.  Right here on the coast it is hard to grow, but just an hour inland it gets very warm, so we are luckly.  It has been rainy the past few days and DH is out right now mowing the lawn.  He spent the weekend putting new gravel on our side yard, so slowly, but surely we are coming along.

This unusual fushia plant was my elderly neighbors.  I was lucky to inherit many things from her yard, this is my husband’s favorite:

My first tomatoes:

I spent about an hour today out deadheading and pulling a few weeds.  Our zucchini are going to be quite abundant soon:

But now I am tired….I am going to get dinner prepared and heating on the stove so I can rest.  Oh yeah I did make strawberry jam!

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Tuesday Garden Party-July 5, 2011

Remember this:

Well after 2 months it looks like this:

Yes it is in the corner of our yard next to a squash plant.  Did I mention DH was sick with the flu, which turned into pneumonia, which turned into 4 days in the hospital and another few weeks to recover right in the middle of getting the garden planned and planted…which left it up to me.  What can I say…… oh yeah my excuse for everything…I have lupus.

Here is a picture taken of the back yard from one fenced side:

To the left is or little shed which holds the lawnmower and assorted gardening tools.  I keep my smaller tools and gloves in plastic bins, which enable me to carry around what I need to work.

My tomatoes are growing great:

We have our first tomato, which we are very excited about.  Our blueberries are growing (DH finally got them planted when he felt better around a month ago):

with lots of little blueberries too:

We may just be feeding the birds this first year since DH has not got them covered yet, probably with chicken wire.  We have four zucchini plants, all with little zucchini on them:

The strawberry patch is still producing well.  I picked another colander full today:

I am hoping for 2 more raised beds to be built a some point over the fabric ground cover we placed to help us get a grip on weeds.

The herbs are doing great too next to the blueberries:

Today I watered everything, put Miracle Grow on the flowers (Bob and Joe’s organic system on the edibles) and pulled out the calla lillies that were looking horrible:

I managed to get a  lot done today along with a load of laundry hung out to dry, then tumbled in the dryer so they are not stiff (DH’s polo work shirts and underwear).  I don’t think he would appreciate stiff underwear!

I am pleased with my progress, slow though it is.  And lastly my little companions who are with me enjoying the sun while I work:

My granddog Lola (the black and white terrier) will be going home this weekend when I meet my oldest daughter in Redding to hand her over.  I have a final QME exam for my worker’s comp claim on Monday and OD lives in Reno, so it is a halfway point to make the exchange.  I would rather keep my granddog than have her go to a doggy hotel when OD takes trips, even though it ends up that I keep her longer than the trip.  Landon likes the company, actually they both like to play together, but after a while I think they want to go back to being the #1 dog in their homes.

Go check out the other posts at www.anoregoncottage.com for more inspiring gardens….I know they inspire me!

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Tuesday Garden Party-Late …..sorry…..I have Lupus….my new excuse for everything!

I have a great picture this week:

The tiniest little frog between the leaves of the rose I had just clipped off before the petals all fell to the ground.

We have had a lot of success with our strawberries.  This is their second year and I expect even more next year.  I have been using Sluggo Plus to keep the yuckies away:

Some are really big:

So once again I made the shortcakes that DH was bragging to our neighbor about.  I confessed they were off the Bisquick box, but I read the recipe wrong and added 1/4 cup of sugar instead of 3 tablespoons.  The 1/4 cup was for the strawberries, but I don’t add any sugar to the strawberries, just lots of whipped cream….a staple in our house, bought in the 3 pack from Costco!

It’s not as much fun without my sweet granddaughter here.  But then life in general is not as fun, but I am getting more done!

I plan to get some pictures of my squash and tomatoes next week since they are looking great!  With DH having the bout of pneumonia and in the hospital in late May and me with my new diagnosis, things are not as “organized” in the garden areas as they should be.  I was hoping for 2 more raised beds this year AND a new planter for the front yard, but it’s not happening.  The new patio is nice though!

Can’t wait to see what everyone else has been doing over at www.anoregoncottage.com.

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Tuesday Garden Party June 21st 2011

Wow I have been away a long time…not really away, just busy and coping with my new diagnosis.  I am finding it harder and harder to do the things I would like to do so my garden is not going to be as lovely as everyone else’s, but it is my garden and I like it!  My sweet granddaughter was here for the past week and she liked to “help”. 

With the diagnosis of lupus I must stay covered and wear hats outside all the time along with a light long sleeve shirt.  Luckily Humboldt County does not get that warm really so a light long sleeve shirt is comfortable most of the time.  Ally had to wear one of my new hats  as she “helped”.

Yes she still has her PJ’s on!  Those are miniture calla lillies she is watering. 

My peony actually bloomed this year.  I think it needed fresh soil and a slightly bigger pot, which DH took care of and we have been rewarded with:

Funny it is the same shade as the rose it sits next to, I guess I could have DH move it.

I changed out the primrose with new plants on my driveway planter, transferring the primroses into new containers to hopefully show them again next year:

My columbines and foxgloves have put on a nice show:

Lastly this week, my bleeding heart is blooming, it never really seems to do more than the year before, I am wondering if it is in too shady of an area in our entryway area:

It is surrounded by pots with baby Japanese maple trees from the 40-year-0ld one we have in the back yard.  It is interesting each year to see how far the seeds go and start to grow about the back yard.  I found one this year in our half wine barrel where we grow our herbs.  I must try to go get a picture of it!

Check out www.anoregoncottage.com for other inspiring posts (not that mine is inspiring!) haha.

We have had several bird nests in the trees in the surroundng yards and have found several babies that didn’t make it and the other day a real bird (as in not right out of the egg) was lying on our new patio.  We figure it must have ran into the sliding glass door.  It makes me sad.

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Tuesday’s Rainy Garden Party May 31, 2011

See previous post if you wonder where I have been!  However, I have to admit I spent a lot of time outside when DH was sick, just so I did not have to listen to him moaning…..

Finally dug that sucker out!  Saved a small piece and planted since I knew DH’s heart would be broken, but it was taking up prime gardening real estate!

Here it is in the southwest corner of our lot up against a fence area.

My poor blueberries have still not been planted, but I am trying to keep the area weed-free.

There is my companion, Landon, who I keep telling to keep out of the garden areas!  He doesn’t listen.

Here are some impatients I planted against my house. 


It is raining hard here today in Northern California, but I will have more pictures next week hopefully, now that DH is well (more or less) and my lupus drugs are working fairly well. 

Check out everyone else’s progress at http://www.anoregoncottage.com/2011/05/tuesday-garden-party-some-highlights.html

I get lots of inspiration there!

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Tuesday Garden Party-Thursday May 5, 2011

Whoever said “A woman’s work is never done” should have said, “A gardener’s work is never done”.  I have been working so hard and I swear it is never going to look like some of the beautiful gardens I see at www.anoregoncottage.com Tuesday Garden Party. 

Since my fibromyalgia has been renamed immune disorder and I am on some drugs that are working, I am finding I am back to my old self….sort of….I also have to remember I am 53, not 33 or even 43 anymore.  Okay having said all that, if you are not a regular reader of my blog…and let’s face it who is??, you will have missed the most exciting news of the past week which is our new patio!

We have waited over 10 years for something to go here:

 which now looks like this:

Why did we wait so long?  Well DH and I argued about whether to replace the deck (what he wanted) or have a patio (what I wanted).  Along with that was raising 3 daughters, the youngest who had us away from home so much with all her sporting activities.  Seriously we traveled so much with her, I could retire on the money we spent….only for her to up and get married a year out of high school….So then there was the new roof, the new car (paid for with cash), the wedding, and then of course the granddaughter…..and all the money we spent the six weeks I spent in North Carolina…..

Any excuse to show this favorite picture of me and my girls…..(Oprah I know your show is ending, can I please have a makeover so I am as beautiful as my daughters?)….

As usual I digress from the topic at hand.  Okay I have been working hard this week and just came in from planting the impatients that DH brought home from his trip to the bay area:

I also planted some sunflowers and bachelor buttons today and weeded our strawberries in one of our raised beds.  DH also brought home from Home Depot (we don’t have one in Humboldt County, nor a Walmart for that matter), tomato cages for our  tomatoes that I am feeling very hopeful about:

The strawberry patch area is in the far back that you can see in this picture.  I have weeded the closer bed and pulled out the overgrown arugula along with a huge flower that I thought DH was going to kill me for getting rid of.  It just took up too much of the raised bed.  I stuck a piece into the pot to the right of the far right tomato pot.  I hope it will grow, it was a nice flower, but had gotten completely out of hand:

My Lily of the Valley plants are reproducing.  I started with two from my elderly neighbor (who I miss so much), who moved to Minneapolis to be closer to her son and DIL after her DH passed away in November of 2009.  She was such an inspiration to me as is my own 81-year-old mother who spends her days in her yard, happily passing away the time.  I need to decide on an area for the Lily of the Valley plants soon, probably by next year:

This plant popped up in the area I planned to plant my sunflowers, but have no idea what it is or where it came from.   I did plant the gladiolas that you can see, but am curious as to what this is.  My DH thinks it is a weed!

My last picture is an Iris that I bought at http://www.sunvalleyfloral.com/thesunvalleygroup/index.cfm

Each year Sun Valley has a sale and plant show.  I did not go last year, but bought several bulbs over the years. 

I also planted impatients in my hanging baskets in the front yard, and a flower mixture my neighbor gave me along with my new gardening shoes.  I gotta take a picture of them!

I find all the posts very inspiring and even though I am not even close to some of the beautiful gardens, it is something I am striving for…I figure I have at least another 30 years to garden right??

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Tuesday Garden Party-Slug, Snails and Rolly-Pollys oh my!

I feel Jamie’s pain over at www.anoregoncottage.com, because here in Humboldt County they are ridiculously prolific!  They also hide in overgrown arugula and swiss chard all day long because of all the lovely shade such an overgrown garden provides.  I started cleaning out our raised bed and probably found 15 snails and 10 slugs.  I have been using Sluggo this year with some success, but did not think to put it out in the back, just mostly in the front yard where I had planted some flowers.

I went to a growing tomatoes in Humboldt County seminar at Pierson’s Building and Gardening Center in Eureka on Saturday morning.  I figured it would be about 1 hour, well no it was actually 2 hours, but those 2 hours flew by!  Steve Goto from www.gotomato.us.com was fascinating, funny and full of great information!  Being on the Northern Coast where temperatures rarely even reach into the 70s in the summer makes growing tomatoes a real challenge.  We tried 2 years ago and did not have much success.  Last year we didn’t even try, but both my husband and I, after seeing the article about the seminar decided we would like to try again.

So much interesting information and an organic method to try in our pots.  We put the pots on the south side of our home, which is the warmest since it is also about 9 feet from a fence between us and our neighbors.  However, since we are having a new patio poured today (yippee, yippee, yippee!), we are also going to lay black ground cover fabric and get a new truckload of gravel to make our side yard once again look presentable without all the weeds, etc that grows after 23 years of doing nothing over there.   Plus that is where the bobcat came in to grade the patio area and where the cement truck thing will be going:

 Here is the set up patio area:

Okay back to tomato growing, Steve recommends Joe and Bob’s organic products and introduced us to grafted tomatoes.  So we are trying grafted tomatoes grown organically and see how it goes.  I admit I have used Miracle Grow for years and have had beautiful flowers with it and may continue until I have used up the large box from Costco purchased last year, but I am going to start moving towards organic and see how it goes.

For the pots (even though I have used Miracle Grow in them previously) you start with 1 oz of Optimize, follow with 1 cup of Maximize and 1 cup of Biosomix.  Add your soil admendments (in my case composted chicken manure and some composted garden and grass clippings that has been growing and composting for 23 years (we use it every year though, we just don’t have formal composting bins…just a huge pile on the side of our yard that is hidden really from the back yard view, you have to go around the side of the house to see it…., anyhoo then plant your grafted tomato up to the graft line.  If you are using regular tomato plants purchased from a nursery you can take off the side stems and any flowers and plant it with just a bit of the tomato plant sticking out.  He says that no plant is really any better than another if your soil is prepared correctly, they should all do well.  In other words if all that is left are plants with yellow leaves, etc.  Not to worry, buy it anyway, pull off the leaves and flowers, put it in your prepared soil and there you go!

Here are my pots and the products:

The Optmizer you use just a little.  This is how much I used for all 3 pots:

This is a container from ricotta cheese that I measured the 3 oz into:

Here is a prepared pot with all 3 products:

Here are the grafted tomato plants:

They were on sale for $9.99 for the seminar.  They will be well worth it if we actually get some tomatoes off of them!  I am so looking forward to my first garden season where I don’t have a job and can spend as much time as I want in the garden.  I will have to be careful not to overdo too much though!

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