Our Summer Garden!

Happy Monday!  And a belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas and nurturers out there – hope it was an amazing day!  We have been LIVING outside the last few weeks.  After the worst winter in Seattle’s history, we were all juuuust about ready to lose our minds right when the sun decided to (mostly) start shining again.

The kids run outside the minute they get home from school, and usually don’t come in until dinnertime.  I have such great memories of being in my backyard as a kid growing up.  My mom had the same philosophy – if the sun is shining, go outside – and I like to think it’s something I’m passing forward.  Now many years later as an adult, I cannot stand to be indoors on a nice day.  One of the things I actually love about living in Seattle is that it’s not usually quite warm enough to need air conditioning, and there are no scary or pesty bugs, which means we can leave our doors and windows open through the summer and have fresh air all day long.  The best!

Last weekend we made our annual trek to the Tilth Seattle Edible Plant sale, to get starts for our summer garden!  A million thanks to my friend Lacey for joining us, as we attempted to wheel a wagon of plants and contain two wild dragon children in a sea of people.  We made it out alive and got our haul to take home!  (Btw, this wagon from Coscto is one of my favorite kid purchases to date – we use it for everything!)

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Back home to get our beds cleared out, and our plants in the ground!  In my three years of veggie gardening, I still feel like a bit of a newbie and haven’t gotten super adventurous.  I like sticking with the things that do really well, and trying one or two new things each year.

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We turned all the soil and then laid everything out where we wanted to plant it.  Then my helpers eagerly dug holes and set the plants inside.  I look forward to gardening with them all winter long, and I love how much they love to be involved – from planting to eating!

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So here’s what we are growing this year!  Our strawberries are doing really well ever since I moved them from pots to the raised beds in the middle of last summer.  They have spread quite a bit already, and there are tons of little white flowers, which should mean lots of berries on the way!  Behind the berries we did snap pea seeds, which is a first for me.  They are already starting to sprout a tiny bit, which is so exciting!

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In the berry bed I’m doing my cherry tomatoes again this year.  It’s my favorite thing to grow, and one of our most successful each year.  For some reason the big tomatoes don’t do as well, but the cherries are always out of control.  This year we planted a bunch of different colors and varieties – black cherry, sungold, a few reds, and one yellow.  I CANNOT WAIT for caprese salad season!

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In this bed I’m also doing zucchini, which did REALLY well last year!  I’m moving basil to the garden beds this time too, as it’s never done very well in my herb boxes.  Hoping it fares better in the beds.  Any pro tips for successful basil growing?  Mine always bolt or the leaves start mysteriously shrinking!

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So that’s garden bed #1, and it’s the one that gets the most sun, so usually the most successful.

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In our other bed, I’m trying Brussels sprouts for the first time.  When I walk Indy each night, I check out the yards and gardens of all the houses on our loop, and I always see amazing Brussels sprouts stalks in late summer!  Hoping we get some of our own this year.  Behind the sprouts is our yellow squash plant, which was another big success last year.  Looking forward to lots of zoodles!

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This is also where we are doing all our lettuce.  I always go overboard with the salad greens, and this year was no exception.  I tried to really choose varieties we love and eat this year though, so hopefully I can keep up with it.  We planted crunchy romaine and soft butter lettuce – my absolute favorite!

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Trying cucumbers again this year and hoping they do a little better than last summer.  They grew last summer but they were kind of spiny and small.  Trying a different variety this year, so fingers crossed!

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A few more tomato plants in this bed because I just can’t help myself.  You can never have too many tomatoes, right?  I say that now but then these plants are massive by the end of summer and I always wonder what I was thinking.

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Outside of the garden beds, I’m trying to keep everything else in our yard alive.  I bought these amazing perennial ornamental oregano baskets last year, and they are just now starting to come back.  I hope they grow quickly so they aren’t so short and stubby all summer long!  These had gorgeous purple blossoms at the end of last summer.  I’m hoping these actually come back well so I don’t have to keep buying new hanging baskets each year!

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Our lilac tree is in full bloom, and the yard smells AMAZING.  I just cut some blooms to bring inside yesterday – the purple color is just gorgeous.  We almost had this tree taken out last year, since half of it split and fell in a storm last spring, and the other remaining half is leaning on our fence.  I ended up deciding to wait and thank goodness I did, because there is a hideous construction monstrosity going up behind it, and this blocks a lot of it from our view.  So many new boxy houses popping up everywhere in Seattle – it’s nuts.

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The ferns I planted last year are doing really well and are a nice pop of color on our deck.  I’m excited that these have gotten so big in just one year!

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And our Huey tree just finished blooming again.  I love that it flowers right around the time that we lost him last year (mid-March).  Still missing that old nut every day.

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In other backyard news, one of our friends is moving out of the neighborhood (SOB) and didn’t have room for this amazing climber in her new yard, so she gifted it to us!  The perks of having a pick up truck and easily transporting big obnoxious play equipment!

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The kids have been playing on it basically non-stop, and it’s a big step up from our old tiny playhouse and toddler slide (which I gifted to neighbors on our Buy Nothing group).  Our next door neighbor has been over almost every afternoon to play too!  It’s not the prettiest thing ever, but I’m definitely in the camp where I’d rather just have a fun yard where kids love to play than a perfectly manicured lawn and fancy furnishings.  I love having a great outdoor space for all of us to enjoy!

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We are hanging and planting some window boxes this week, and finally strung up our outdoor lights last night, so I’ll share some more pics soon.  The weather for next week looks like it will hit the EIGHTIES, which is kind of blowing my mind.  Nothing better than a Northwest summer, and I am so ready!

What are you guys gardening this year?  Any tips or tricks for the plants we purchased?

Thanks to all of you who entered the Brooks shoe giveaway!  The winner has been notified.  Congrats to Susie, who commented “I had a baby in January and had to stop running during my pregnancy due to complications, so I’m just starting to run again! I have a 5k on Saturday that I’m excited and terrified about :). I love running in Brooks shoes, and my favorites have been the Ravenna line!”