Garden Update – May 14, 2014

Garden Update 2014

This past week has been a busy one.  The whole start to the gardening season this year has felt full, busy, rushed, as if I were running out of time.  Turns out it payed off this week.

Since my last update I have been able to knock several things off this list:

Mow grass

Spay yard for insects

Remove posts on deck from built in table and benches – table top and benches were removed a few years ago so this was way overdue

Add mulch to bed along deck

Add fencing to bed along deck to deter plant-eating rabbits

Plant tomatoes and other vegetables in bed along deck

Put up trellises for tomatoes along shed and in long raised bed

Plant tomatoes in long raise bed

Plant sunflowers (the last planting resulted in only one seed germinating)

Plant herbs that I started from seed

Spread rest of (saved) Zinnia seeds

deck garden bed

Still left to do:

Seed and fertilize grass – when you don’t remove the piles of leaves you gathered quickly enough, you end up with very large areas void of grass the next Spring

Plant spinach

Plant cucumbers and zucchini

Create plan for the rest of the large raised bed

raised container garden 5 13 14

Our “lawn boy” handed it down to younger sister so we had a bit of lapse in mowing.  At first I was not too worried, “Surely they’ll do it today.”  After saying that for a week, I realized I could not wait any longer and just did it myself.  That is something I have not done for several years thanks to the birthday/Christmas/Anniversary/Because I love you gift from my husband.  It started at a time in our lives when ALL of our energy was being zapped by a foster care placement.  There was no time or energy left for things like mowing the yard.  Turns out this young man was earning money to pay for the insurance on his car once he turned 16.  AND his dad works with my husband. AND he only lives 2 blocks from our house.  Perfect.

I quickly realized how much of a blessing this was when the school bus brought our school aged child home.  See, the first half of the yard took 30-40 minutes.  The second half of the yard took over 2 hours.  For the “lawn boy” they stand at the window and watch.  For Mom, well, they take a more in your face approach.  Especially if there is another kid to aide them in doing so.  Yes, training would solve this.  So does having a “lawn boy.”

If you have checked the Facebook page, or took note of the meal plan for the week, then you know there is a friend here this week.  Today that increased on very short notice yesterday, meaning I had to finish yesterday what I had planned to do today.  There is no written rule that you can only garden when the sun is up.  I was not sure how long the extra two kids, in addition to the friend, were going to need a babysitter, so I had two plans formed in my head.

Plan A = my kids plus friend = ability to do minimal gardening or easier yard chores such as pulling grass out of cracks in the driveway or adding pepper plants to a raised bed

Plan B = my kids plus friend plus two little ones = no gardening work, no yard work, no housework, just the basics

Neither of these situation would be for very long, a few weeks at most.  Basically just enough time to get into a routine before school was out for the summer.

Today I started out with my plan for the day, but by the end I had learned many lessons.  For one, do not have “sandbox day” on a day when you have a crawling baby and a toddler who likes to constantly thrown the sand out of the box while sitting (literally) in the middle of it.

poppy flower ready to bloom

One of the reasons I agreed to watch these kids, besides helping out some Moms who were in tight situations which were the initial reasons, was the opportunity to see how my youngest would react to having other/younger kids in the house taking Mommy’s attention away.  With the potential for new foster kids to come into our home, I wanted to see what I may expect in terms of attitudes and behaviors.  Our youngest has been the youngest for the past several years, and I realize he is a bit spoiled – he hasn’t had to share his Mommy during the day all school year.  He can also be stubborn and is not used to sharing toys with younger kids.  Now, isn’t that a great combination?  It was not the smoothest of days, but definitely can be improved with some heart work and encouragement.

Our oldest on the other hand did wonderfully with the younger kids.  This was not a surprise as this is a strong suite for this child and one reason we had no reservations about saying we are open for little kids.  If allowed, I think this child of mine would have been thrilled beyond belief to change a diaper.  The look of “I’m such a great helper” that showed up when I taught this child how to feed a baby and then let him do it was a great reminder that God makes us all unique and gives each of us different gifts.  This is where this child thrives.

Okay, so back to gardening.  Today was also a reminder to how life was just a few years ago when I had virtually no garden, put up very little food at the end of the season, and felt very much not like myself.  There just was not the time or energy to do so.  This has been a lot of the driving force for this year – I’m finally at a point that I can get to the old “to-do” items, such as removing posts on the deck.  There may be a point in the near future where I will not have that luxury, so now is the time and I am trying to get as much done as possible.

I felt no quilt for taking the day off and spending it with kids.  Walks were taken, books read, crafts completed, lunch made, snacks had, naps taken, toys spread out and picked up.  I could have done more, though for having no routine set, I think it went fine.

This upcoming week is going to have several more scheduling items to make working in the yard and garden a challenge.  I’m up for it.  There is nothing that can not be worked around with some forethought.

This Week’s Gardening Goals:

Finish re-potting vegetable plants

Remove grass from driveway

Seed and fertilize yard

Plant spinach, cucumbers and/or zucchini

Week beds along front walk

Spread wood chips in front walk beds

How is  your garden coming?  Had any evenings spent planting in the fading light?