Gardening Lessons

Greetings from the beautiful Animal Kingdom! Currently I am sitting in an Adirondack chair, sunning my white legs, whiling sipping a Piña Colada...  It is quite the lovely afternoon! I hope you are all enjoying your day as well. 

I wanted to take minute to give an update on the garden(s). Things are growing like crazy over here! I feel like every weekend and most work days I spend at least 30 minutes to an hour playing around in the dirt and I have realized it is one of my happiest parts of the day. It is SO satisfying to watch the plants you have planted grow! 

Now people ask Tyler and me all the time about how we have come to be the gardeners we are today. I used to give most of the credit to Tyler but nowadays I find that I take a bit more. Both of us grew up with parents who spent a great deal of time in the yard tending to the landscape so we did get a great start there. In fact, I remember discussing with my realtor what was important to me about finding a house and I told her that as long as I bought a house in West Boise, my parents would help me with the yard. She didn't seem to buy it so kept talking about town homes and places with low maintenance yards. I told her emphatically that a messed up yard was not a deal breaker at all. In fact, I thought it might be fun to create an oasis like my parents have at their home. It's one of the reasons Tyler and I got married in their yard! Now that I have been to my in-laws I see that my mother-in-law too has an amazing green thumb. But I digress...

Anyway, Tyler had a bit of background, I did too, but nothing compared to what we have learned over the last 5 years. We went from buying every starts from Home Depot, to now doing our own starts and buying only at organic nurseries. We have had some plants do really well one year and then the next not so much. We have learned lessons in composting (when and how much) to fertilizing appropriately, to finding the right watering schedule. We highly recommend The Vegetable Gardener Bible by Edward C. Smith. it has been a really helpful tool to learn the right way to plant. The internet is always handy too. Plus chatting with your local nursery. 

Recently we actually learned a lesson the hard way, which is perfectly normal with learning to garden. It sucks, is expensive, hurts the ego, but really, is just a mistake you learn from. Isn't life great? Always learning some new. So remember all those 200 starts we did earlier this year? Well a good 50 of them we ultra hot peppers that Tyler loves. They were doing really well in our office under the grow light. Last weekend we decided to plant them in the garden. Unfortunately we did not heed the advice to gradually move the plants outside in gradual time intervals, getting the plants used to the outside elements from being inside for 2 months, and about 90% of the peppers died. The really unfortunate thing is the ultra hots are in pretty high demand around the valley, not too many places sell all that many, and when we went looking last weekend, there were none to be found. SO, fortunately we had 6 that we left in the green house because they were extra (woo hoo!) and then we bought some online to be delivered next week. I also bought 3 jalapeños and 4 habañeros today at a local nursery. We buy most of our plants at North End Organic Nursery. If you live in the area, check them out! We love that place!

So if you are afraid to start gardening because you don't know what you are doing or you are just starting out or have been doing it forever, fear not! Gardening is a hobby that lasts a lifetime! 
 Our first year growing potatoes. They are doing great! We have both red and purple potatoes to look forward to. 
 The first kale harvest. Last year we harvested two or three times but probably later than we should. There were some plants that had aphids on them so we had to spray them off. Some leaves were "old" so they were bitter. So this year I am cutting early and then freezing them. We'll have kale all winter! 
 Teeny, tiny asparagus! We planted the rhizomes this year so next year we should be able to start harvesting. 
 Our front pots after I first planted. This year I decided to go heavy on herbs. That way when you walk up to the front door, there will be a delicious scent. Plus it will be handy for picking when making dinner. 
 The little pot was broken so Tyler took a barrel he had that he decided not to use, cut it in half, and made me two planters! 
 Our peas are coming in nicely. Our daisies are full of flowers that are SO close to blooming now. 
 Tyler spent last weekend building this fence for our backyard garden beds. The dogs and the chickens were spending too much time over there and I knew our plants were not going to make it if we didn't change something. It looks really nice too! 
 The backyard fence completed with two gates to access the goods! 
 With the help of my brother last weekend, the front yard fence is officially done! Tyler had stapled all of the fence posts but wanted to screw it off for good measure. It looks amazing! 
 A closer view of the front yard
 Another view, from the driveway. Along the fence we have lavender and poppies that I planted a few weeks ago. They are still pretty little but will fill in over the next couple years. 
 Our first garden box planted 5 years ago. It is outta control! The mint, sage, oregano, and rhubarb just grow... and grow... and grow. Plus the lavender and forsythia make this corner "bee central." 
 The chicks dig it
Another Tyler-made planter. This was a barrel he actually made and decided not to use it for its original purpose. Now it's our strawberry-barrel! 

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