Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Playing in the Garden

Although the kids and I spend time in the garden every day during the summer, to be honest, more of that time is spent playing than gardening.  While I would love to get more real gardening done, it is so much fun to see how creative my goofballs can be. They make cakes out of dirt and feed their stuffed animals flowers. They bring their books out to read in the garden.

Lily makes fun beds for her toys out of flower petals.

Sometimes this turns into random dancing.

When the kids returned from Michigan a few weeks ago it was way past time to tear the snap pea vines and teepees down.  The only reason I left them up until they got back was because I knew they'd get a kick out of all the snails living in the old vines and supports. I can't stand the snails, but the kids love them.  If I find a snail in the garden they practically fight over who gets to hold it and play with it.  Luckily where there's one, there's usually ten more so they don't have to fight too long.

The pea vines were housing tons of obese snails and when Lily and Jasper saw them all, they were so excited you would have thought Yoda was coming in the front gate for a visit.  While I was picking the rest of the peas that were salvageable and tossing them into a bowl, Lily and Jasper were collecting all the snails in old pots.  

I had to bite my tongue when they started feeding the peas to the snails.

Lily called it her snail aquarium.

Last week, the kids took some of their legos and plastic animals and made a jungle out of sticks and plucked parsley leaves. 

And this week, their obsession has been pretending to dig up fossils in the dirt.  They bury their toy animals, dig them up and wash them off in a bucket of water, over and over and over again.  My creative girl even had the clever idea of using a chive blossom as a soft brush to dust the dirt off of the fossils so she wouldn't damage them.

Oh, and one fossil, our giraffe, even got a new hairdo thanks to some old sunflower petals.

Our garden really is a playground for Lily and Jasper, one with endless possibilities.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Garlic, My Love!

I love it when the garlic is ready to dig up, love, love, love it!  This is only our second year growing garlic and it has quickly become one of my favorite veggies to grow.  It's easy, successful, pests don't like it, and we use garlic in cooking all the time. Jasper likes to sit in the raised beds by the garlic; it's his forest.

Garlic is such an unassuming crop; it doesn't have big showy leaves or huge fruit ripening in front of your eyes and you plant it in the fall knowing you have to be patient, patient, patient.  But.  It.  Is. Wonderful!  When the tall stalk-like leaves all start to turn brown,

I dig one up to see what the bulb looks like, and viola!

The kids helped me dig up a few bulbs; then they were bored.  But they loved the gaping holes I left all over the raised beds from digging up the rest of the garlic.  I'm sure I'll be finding lego people buried in the dirt for the next few years.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Potting Up Strawberries

We've had a pretty successful strawberry crop so far this summer and even more are ripening now. And with successful strawberry plants come runners!  Our strawberry runners are going crazy, they are outrunning us all.  For the most part I've been clipping them off or ignoring them, but our Hood strawberries were so amazingly delicious that last week I decided to pot up some of the runners and increase the number of plants we have so I could plant some in the backyard for next year.

It's an easy task that I can do with or without the kids.  I just put some good potting soil in a pot, gently push the runner into the potting soil right where the roots are starting, cover the roots with more soil and water in nicely.  Some people pot the runners up while leaving them attached to the parent plant.  Once their own roots are well established (a week or two) you then clip them off the parent plant and they are ready to be on their own.  I've also heard you can clip the runner first and pot it up all by itself.  I was curious so I tried both ways.

So far all the ones I clipped off of the parent plants first and then potted up on their own have withered up and died.

All of the ones I left attached to the parent plants are looking great.  When I have time to pot up more, this is the way I will do it.

Jasper and Lily got the hang of potting up super fast and no sooner had I potted up a few strawberry plants, when I look over at them and they had potted up some goofballs!