July Update: A new streak begins and the garden keeps on growing!

Matt and I are home after spending 10 days in beautiful St. Lucia and a few days in Western Maryland for the DockDogs Regional Championships.  I’ll post honeymoon photos and the dockdogs recap soon, but in the meantime I have some updates!

After 205 consecutive days my mile-a-day streak ended the day before our honeymoon began (June 13th).  I initially thought I would keep on streaking while in St. Lucia but for the first week we were staying in the rainforest on top of a mountain at the end of a precariously washed out dirt road so running a mile a day wasn’t really feasible.  Oh well!  🙂 As of July 1st I have started a new streak.  We’ll see if I can beat 205 days… I’ll reach that goal on January 21, 2014.

In other news, we had record rainfall in June and as a result my vegetable garden has been growing like crazy!  Check out this photo that I took today… a comparison shot from my May 10th gardening post is below.

Garden 7-3-13

Garden (5-10-13)

Quite a difference, right?  When we got home from St. Lucia I was shocked to see how much the parsley, thyme and tomatoes had grown and I was overwhelmed by the enormous zucchini plants!!  (I think my basil was overwhelmed too… it’s now living in the shadow of those large-leafed behemoths!)  Here are some other photos of my garden and back yard flowers from today.

While I was wandering around with my camera this afternoon I was surprised to spot a white-tailed deer in the front yard.  It is quite common for us to see deer in our area (usually in other peoples’ yards or dashing across the road!) but it is very, VERY rare to see a deer in our yard because Bailey has made it her life mission to stalk and chase any and all wildlife that comes within her invisible fence boundary.

I guess the neighborhood deer herd realized that Bailey was not at home for most of June and as a result they are now making themselves comfortable in the front yard.  Luckily Bailey was on her game this afternoon and as soon as this deer made a move Bailey (who must have been stalking it from a different angle as I snapped away with the camera) came blasting over, chased it away, and then proceeded to roll and rub in the deer’s scent for a good 30 seconds.  Good dog, Bailey (even if you do smell now…)

Well, that’s it for tonight’s update.  Happy 4th of July and have a great holiday weekend!!

Related Posts:
• Streaking, Reflections, and Other December Challenges (December 3, 2012)
• Streaking, Day 100 (March 1, 2013)
• Let the 2013 Gardening Season Begin! (May 12, 2013)
• Waiting for Red Tomatoes (July 4, 2012)

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Happy Spring!

Happy Spring!  Our yard has made a beautiful transformation from Winter to Spring in just two short weeks.  Our trees are blooming, the tulips are coming up, and the garlic that I planted last Fall is looking great.  Here are some photos from April 19th:

That beautiful spinach patch is actually leftover from spinach that I planted in October.  It never really took off at the time (probably because I planted it too late) but as soon as the weather warmed up in April it started growing like crazy.  I harvested it today and I can’t wait to enjoy with some cucumber, feta, and toasted almonds tonight!

If you’re interested to see how this year’s growth compares to the same time last year, check out my Garden Update from April 17, 2012.  Thanks for stopping by!

August Cheer for a Rainy Day

As predicted, Hurricane Sandy is slowly turning into the New Jersey coast and we have already experienced 40 mph wind gusts, almost 2 inches of rain, and a short power outage.  We’ve also found a leaky spot in our roof by the chimney… eek!  Other than that everything is fine so I thought I’d share something completely unrelated to the storm: photos from my garden in August!

This pink zinnia plant was at its peak in early August but, believe it or not, it STILL has a few blooms on it today! We’ll see how they look after the storm…

These Gladioli bloomed in August and did a nice job of covering up the big propane tank that powers a little stove in our living room. That stove might come in handy if the power goes out tonight!

Vine-ripening tomatoes in early August… yum!

These “Dinnerplate” Dahlias bloomed outside of our front door for most of the summer.

I picked all of these vegetables during my lunch break one day in August. Pretty good harvest, right?

And, last but not least, an isolated Orange Cosmo. You might recognize this plant from my August post “The Bee’s Knees.” I’m definitely planting more of these flowers next year!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and good luck to everyone in the storm’s path!

Volunteer Vegetables!

Guess what?  All of these veggies came from “volunteer plants” in my garden.  Volunteers are plants that grow on their own, either from the wind or a bird dropping a seed or, in my case, from compost.  Seeds aren’t normally supposed to sprout out of your compost so, judging by the huge quantity of volunteers that are growing around my house, I think I must be doing something wrong!  (Or very right, depending on how you feel about volunteer mystery plants!)

The squash and pumpkin plants sprouted by our front door and quickly took over our pink cosmo/dahlia flower bed.  By mid-August the crooked-neck gourd vines were completely out of control and could be clearly seen from the street so we picked the mature squash and ripped out the vines.  The pumpkin vines were growing across our front walk so today I finally decided that the pumpkin looked ripe enough to pick it and pull out the plant.

The tomatoes are the most exciting volunteers because we’re actually getting to eat those.  We have about a dozen volunteer tomato plants and the campari-sized tomatoes are just starting to ripen on their vines.  This is perfect timing because my “planned” tomatoes are pretty much done producing.  Can’t wait to each some of them for dinner tonight!

The Bee’s Knees

First of all, congratulations to Pami from Pa-BLAM and Om Nomalicious for winning the Digital Kitchen Scale in the Slimkicker Giveaway!  Pami, please e-mail team (at) slimkicker (dot) com to claim your prize!

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Matt is at a lacrosse tournament this weekend so Bailey and I enjoyed a lazy Saturday.  She spent hours lounging in the shade watching for groundhogs, birds, and squirrels (her favorite summer pastime) and I browsed the aisles of Pier 1 (I love looking at all of the plates, trays, and glasses… is that weird?) and spent some time enjoying my garden.

There are several flowers blooming in the garden now including gladiolus, superbells, canna lilies and cosmos.  We planted the cosmos in May and recently they have really taken off.  There are dozens of perfect orange blooms and several bees happily buzzing around from flower to flower.  Here are a few photos of them, enjoy!

Our First Garlic Harvest!

After 9 months of waiting our garlic is finally ready to harvest! I’m pleased to announce the successful unearthing of eight beautiful, nicely formed garlic bulbs.

I patiently waited for the bottom of the garlic plants to start turning brown before harvesting them. Since these plants are a “hard neck” garlic variety I was able to pull them out of the ground with my hands fairly easily. One of the bulbs was slightly damaged (a clove had over-ripened out of its papery skin) so I peeled the whole bulb and used it to make a large batch of pesto. I froze the pesto in an ice cube tray so we’ll be able to enjoy our garden’s garlic and basil several months from now.

Based on Mike McGrath’s advice, I am now “curing” our garlic in a single file row on our dining room table. The spot is air conditioned and out of direct sunlight so hopefully the garlic should be ready to store in a week or so. We use garlic pretty quickly in our household so those remaining seven bulbs should be long gone by October!

This garlic was amazingly simple to grow (just plant the cloves in October, cut the scapes in June, and unearth the bulbs in July) and we are excited to finally be enjoying our own garlic!!

Please remember to leave a comment in my Tomato Salad post to be eligible to win a digital kitchen scale!

Pink Zinnia!

We grew this lovely pink zinnia from seed and it now resides outside our front door amidst a volunteer squash patch.  Isn’t it pretty?

Also… don’t forget to leave a comment in my Slimkicker Giveaway post to be eligible to win a digital kitchen scale!  🙂