Garden Glory.

Happy Monday!  Last week totally got way from me, but more on that at the bottom.  I’m still catching up on pictures from last weekend!  Summer has come early to Seattle, and we’ve had 80 degree temps and glorious sunshine for a while now.  Can’t complain about that – it is heaven.

Last weekend was the Seattle Tilth Edible Plant sale, which I look forward to every spring.  I had originally planned for us to all go together on Saturday after Cullen’s t-ball game, but melting down children required some rescheduling.  So I decided to brave it myself the next day (while Casey worked at the Fremont farmers market selling kombucha!). 

It was super crowded and pure chaos, and it was quite the feat to keep eyes on both kids and carefully select all the plants for our boxes.  And even though it was madness, I was so glad I’d waited and gone when the kids could enjoy it.  We had a BLAST, and they couldn’t wait to garden when we got home.

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But before we could get to gardening, we hard to fill up our boxes with the good stuff.  On Saturday, I had Casey take his truck to a local garden supply spot and get a big haul of organic veggie compost mix.  They ended up taking a backhoe and literally filling his entire truck bed with dirt.  It was waaaaay more than we could have ever needed!  It took us an hour just to shovel it out of the truck and onto a tarp on the driveway.  Later that afternoon, I took countless wheelbarrow loads down to the veggie boxes and filled them up with as much as I could.  But we still had a ton leftover! 

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I ended up posting a listing for the extra dirt on my local Buy Nothing group on Facebook, and neighbors came by all afternoon to scoop and shovel dirt and haul it away to their own gardens.  If you aren’t part of a Buy Nothing group in your area, you could check to see if you have one!  It’s such a nice way to give back and connect with the people in your neighborhood.

Before we planted the actual beds themselves, we got everything else prepped and ready, and cleaned up what was left from last year.  I finally got some new hanging baskets for our shepherd’s hooks, and set out all the patio cushions on our seating area. 

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I’m hoping these petunias can handle the summer heat this year, and last for a long time!  I’m loving the purple color, which we also have in our outdoor throw pillows.

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The first thing we planted was our Huey Tree.  We picked out this planted right after he died, and it makes me smile every time I see it.  It’s dark brown with some hints of lighter brown and gold – just like Huey boy – and we planted a sun-loving perennial inside because there was nothing he loved more than curling up in a sunny patch.  It’s been almost two months since he died, and I still think about him every day.

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With our special pot all planted, we concentrated on our herb garden first.  Our sage plant thrived during our mild, rainy winter, and we have more than we could ever need now for this year!

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And I’m so glad I planted our mint in a pot, as I know it would have taken over the yard by now.  The kids love to sit on the step and eat mint leaves. 

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I think it’s going to be a good year for strawberries!  We have tons of little white flowers, and I cleaned up all the old dead leaves and debris. 

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We added some fresh compost and potting soil, and I have high hopes for these this year.  As much as I miss him, Huey ate all the strawberries as soon as they ripened in past years, so it will be interesting to see if we actually get any this summer. 

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Our other herb planter box had some rosemary remaining – this stuff is so hardy!

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The kids and I got everything stacked up on the table and ready to plant.  And they only snapped one basil and half a tomato plant in the process!

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I’ve found that they key to getting the kids excited about gardening is to give them gear.  Mini garden gloves and tiny tools made all the difference!

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Watching the boys help me was such a treat, as their approach to gardening was so in line with their individual personalities.  Cullen was methodical and careful, slowly lowering each herb into the holes and then gently smoothing the dirt all around. 

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Graham went at it just as he does everything else – with no hesitation, total confidence, and always just teetering on the edge of seeing what will break. 

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I know that they aren’t going to be excited about gardening with mom forever, and so I soak up what little time I have left that they still think I am cool.  I’ve heard a lot of sad stories lately about sick mamas, sick kiddos, and other things that leave me with so many questions.  And so I’ve tried really hard recently to cherish all these little moments and opportunities I am so lucky to have with them.

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With all the herbs planted, it was time to water.  Mini watering cans make everything much more fun!

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Here are our finished herb boxes, in all their glory!  From left to right we have:  cilantro, oregano, lemon thyme, flat-leave parsley, and rosemary. 

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And in our other box, I did something different this year – just basil!  In the past, my basil has never survived, and even if it did it was never enough!  We cook with tons of it in the summer, so I knew this year I wanted a lot.  I planted two sweet basil plants, one purple Thai basil, and then we had a third sweet basil that got snapped off in transport.  Oops.

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I planted the broken stem anyway to see if it would grow back, but it’s looking pretty brown.  We will probably replace this sooner than later!

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Only got pictures of the final product down in the garden beds, since my hands were covered in dirt and I was frantically trying to keep the tomato plants from being snapped in half.  But everything survived and made it into the ground!

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I’m doing lots of salad greens this year – butter lettuce, romaine, and a spring mix.  We’ve been eating tons of salad lately, and I had big success with greens the past two years, so I’m hopeful. 

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I only did two big tomato plants this year, as they have never really grown that well for me, and they take up a lot of room.  Last year all my full sized tomato plants got a weird rot, and I ended up pulling them all out.  Fingers crossed for better luck this year.

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Also in that bed, I did cucumbers (which still need a trellis added), yellow squash, and zucchini.  We did cucumbers and yellow squash last year and both did REALLY well.  I had them in the other bed last year though, so hopefully they do as well on the other side.  I assume if yellow squash did well then zucchini will too – we will see!  These got ENORMOUS last year, so I tried to leave a lot of room. 

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Our other garden bed is taken up mostly by cherry tomato plants – I’m planting five different types this year!  Yellow, orange, and juicy red – we’ve had big success with these and the kids (and dogs) and I just love eating them straight out of the garden.  I think it’s going to be another very hot summer, so hopefully these will thrive!

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I’m trying two new things this summer – fennel and celery.  I let Cullen pick these out at the plant sale, and he’s excited to see if they work.  If nothing else we will use their tasty leaves!

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The cutest, tiniest little fennel!

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So there it is – our garden so far!

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We still have some space left, so it’s nice to know we can add a few more things.  One thing I’ve decided to do without this year is kale.  Honestly, I don’t love kale anyway, and ours have gotten really gross aphids the past two years in a row.  No thank you. 

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The most exciting part of all the gardening was of course – getting to use the hose!

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Eventually the hose got turned around the kids took turns running through the showers.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE SUMMMER!?

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A few other outdoor things worth talking about.  We had a big windstorm at the end of march that knocked down an entire section of our fence – OUCH.  We’ve been getting estimates from fence companies these past few weeks, and finally just settled on one.  In the meantime, we’ve had this lovely pallet patch between our houses (to keep Indy in the yard).

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The kids love it, because there are two little girls next door who are almost the same ages, and they all just stand at the open fence area and talk and watch each other play.  Cullen was so upset when I told him it was going to be fixed soon!

And out front, the exiting update is that I finally got a porch swing!  I’ve been wanting one forever, and I finally just bit the bullet and got one.  It brings me an alarming amount of happiness!

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I sit out there during lots of nap times and read a book or catch up on phone calls if the time change works out.  It is the perfect fit and even has cup holders.  Indy likes to sit on the porch with me and keep watch over the neighborhood.  It is amazing the effect all this sunshine has had on all of our happiness!

Okay, there is more to share but that’s enough for Monday.  More to come this week – hope your week is off to a great start!