Where the Wild Things Are

Oh, how I wish weeds were tasty.  I’d be in hog heaven, and invite all my friends to come and FEAST.  Because….oh, my backyard is wild.

The playset…you can see where the kids play. Everywhere else is CRAZY.
weeds to pull

See that patch in the back? It’s my raspberries. They’re brambles, really, and don’t mind being crowded it seems- I’ve never seen them set a heavier batch of berries! But really, this is ridiculous. That darn ranunculus (buttercups) loves clay soil, builds a heavy web of roots, and is nearly impossible to hand pull (remember the clay soil??) That patch is the next spot I tackle.  On nights the baby goes to bed before the sun sets, I get my gloves on and pick a spot…and work until the spot is cleared, or the yard waste bin is full.  (I’m too nervous to compost weeds-in-bloom in my compost pile, I’m sure it doesn’t get hot enough to kill the seeds!)

weeds to pull

Ho ho. Hee hee. See that spot next the shed? There are STACKS of pavers and wall blocks in the there. Heck, there’s an entire lilac bush in there! Buttercups are my nemesis. The kids love to pick me handfuls of flowers though, and buttercups so obligingly grow handfuls of flowers…I just wish they’d stay contained to the woods!
weeds to pull

What’s crazy to me is that my weeds are almost exclusively non-native, invasive, the law says you’ve got to pull them up, plants. Himalayan blackberries, ranunculus, sedges, wild garlic mustard…of course, natives get in the act too with the nettles and horse tails. But those invasives…oh my gosh. Each plant literally produces millions of seeds. In just a few weeks, some of them can get taller than me.

What’s Going on the Greenhouse? (Lesson Learned)

I am over the moon excited about this greenhouse in my backyard.  Unfortunately, when the greenhouse was built, I didn’t become instantly endowed with fantastic “greenhouse gardening” knowledge, and I’m learning my lessons this Spring.

For example, if you put seeds in trays of “seed starting mix” and wait for them to sprout, and then wait for their first true leaves, and then wait for those leaves to get a little bigger (or even unfurl) you will wait a long, long time.

These tomatoes have looked like this for roughly two months.  Guess how much of that time I spent waiting for them before I transplanted what I needed into actual dirt?  Yeah, about a month and a half.

tomato sprouts in the greenhouse

Luckily, LOOK at this tomato start!   Already in it’s second pot, just a few weeks after transplanting the sproutlet.

tomato starts in the greenhouse

Let’s get another before and after.

Basil sprouts:

sprouted basil in the green house

Basil transplanted (do you think 43 basil plants is enough?)  You can see which ones got a few weeks head start.  I normally don’t get out for gardening until the baby goes to sleep at night.  If he’s in his crib before the sun goes down, I get to play in the dirt!

basil starts in the greenhouse

The ground cherries are chugging along- I have a twisted history with ground cherries that once found me with 23 tomatillo plants in my yard. A bad case of mistaken identity. This might be the year I find out what they taste like!

ground cherry starts in the greenhouse

Speaking of tomatillos, they’re going crazy- if it stays warm next week, I’m transplanting them before they do themselves harm.

tomatillo starts in the greenhouse

Gardening Season

I am too busy this year.

Do you know how hard that is to admit?  I’d much rather say I’m too lazy, but I have an awfully compelling argument that I simply overscheduled myself.

See him?


He keeps me pretty busy.  (You know, along with homeschooling, parenting, teaching piano, errands, and cleaning up once in a while.)

I realized recently that I can jump up and down and cry because we put all this effort into getting ready for a garden that simply isn’t planted, or I can step back and accept that Spring is a rotten time to grow anything here besides what I already planted (turnips, chard, kale, peas, strawberries, radishes, and lettuce) and simply wait for the non-rainy days and see what goes in next.  I have a great garden planner (look on the “gardening resources” tab at the top of the page) that I can simply open to the current week, and see what still has time for a planting.  I put in bush beans, squashes, and bush cukes last week.  Everything is sprouted, and we’re in business!

(Next year, I’m going to fill every spot NOT taken up by other crops with peas.  We love them, they’re great for the soil, and I won’t feel like a fool with empty garden boxes.  The peas stay in till mid-July around here, and that’s about when we can put in other crops it seems!)

This just has to be a learning year, I’ve never had this much space for gardening, and I’ve never tried to run a house with two kids and a baby.

WIP: Strawberry Vinegar

I’m fairly certain I’ve seen this done somewhere before, but can’t find it anywhere on the internets.

Strawberry tops+2 cups of white vinegar+2 Tbsp sugar+2 days on the counter.

strawberry vinegar

We’ll see if it’s tasty, but I think it’s going to make fantastic vinaigrette!  I’ll let you know next week how it turned out.