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Archive for the 'Garden' Category

Bull City Coop Tour

If you look you will find it. That’s what I’ve noticed the last few months about Durham. One night looking up fun events for us to do I happened upon Durham’s chicken coop tour. I knew Raleigh had one for years but had never heard of Durham’s – just so happens it was only their second attempt at it. I purchased a map at a local brewer and restaurant and Saturday morning we headed out to see some chickens and coops!

Nathan and I are still deciding where we want our coop to go now that we can officially have one! (Yay for home ownership!) so the tour was not only fun but informational, too. We didn’t see one coop or meet one chicken owner that was like the last.









We put our first plant in the ground the other day. We unfortunately didn’t research much about blueberry bushes because we needed to get them in fast (the leaves on one were beginning to die). So since then we’ve learned we petty much did it all wrong. But so far they are still alive. We may have to move them soon. Turns out blueberries hate grass and we really didn’t give them enough breathing space from the grass. We also should have added hummus to the dirt and mulch. They love mulch! The good news is we put them in the best spot for sun and drainage. Like with most of our gardening attempts we learn as we go along. And it’s always fun to get our hands dirty. This yard is my dream.




A Container Garden

Yesterday we finally got around to planting our container garden. I’m a little nervous, but excited to get back into gardening even if it’s not as big and wonderful as I’m used to. We picked up two tomato plants, orange mint, basil, cucumber seeds, and yellow squash. I did end up planting the cucumbers in a raised mound in the ground. Cucumbers are just meant to be in the earth. Eleanor sort of followed us around and pulled up all the marigolds I planted. Oh girl! Sometimes there is no reasoning with a 13 month old. We all had fun playing in the dirt though. Of course I didn’t get any pictures of the final set up.








Just Grow

A friend of ours snapped this photo of us in the garden a few weeks ago. The corn is nearly over my head now! I love this photo, though. There aren’t that many photos of both Nathan and I in our little garden so this holds a special place in my heart. I imagine I might have a print of it lying around somewhere one day for my grandchildren to look at and admire how young and neat their grandparents were. I know I think that about mine all the time.


Inch Worms and Beans

We just had our first substantial harvest from the front yard farm! Green beans! They are so sweet and crunchy. I love picking veggies more than I love eating them I think – which says a lot since I love eating vegetables! I got eaten alive by mosquitoes and fireflies danced around my head. Then I found an inchworm! There is something so satisfying to discover that creatures call the little world you built home. Mr. Inch Worm lives on our bush beans. I let him crawl along my arm for a bit before I came inside. It was a lovely evening.



Mr. Inchy was really hard to get a picture of, and looks more like a booger on my hand here than a worm!


Inch worms are so cool.

Front Yard Farm

We are in the middle of a crazy lightning and thunder storm right now. It’s so neat! Here are a few photos of the garden I snapped today. It’s coming up – I have big plans to weed and get a few more seeds in this weekend now that the radishes are gone, and beets will be, too. This year we tried “postage stamp gardening” and I think we have concluded it isn’t really for us. Almost everything that has grown has come up itsy bitsy. I mean these beets are about the size our radishes should have been. But it has been fun, and that’s what counts. Today while we were outside a man stopped his car as he was driving by, and yelled, “Hey I love your garden! I walk by every day with my dog and we always stop to look!” Beyond the self satisfaction of growing your own veggies (I’ve eaten nothing but my own lettuce this week) that is the reason we do it. Community.

Front Yard Farm June 2011

Oh, and for Eleanor, too.

Front Yard Farm June 2011
an itsy bitsy carrot for baby

Front Yard Farm June 2011

Front Yard Farm June 2011

Front Yard Farm June 2011

Front Yard Farm June 2011

Front Yard Farm June 2011

Front Yard Farm June 2011

Front Yard Farm June 2011

Front Yard Farm June 2011

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Front Yard Farm Update

The front yard is starting to look a bit fuller now that we have most all of our seedlings popping up, and a bit of fruit, too! I stand back every time I garden to admire our work, and to imagine it growing to its potential in just a few weeks. We currently have a bunch of cherry tomatoes popping out and a few peas!

Cherry tomatoes

Lessons we have learned so far this season:

- while radishes are good for peas, peas are not necessarily good for radishes especially if said radishes are in a partial shade plot. I noticed this weekend that our second planting of radishes had started to flower, but there was no root growth! After a little research turns out soils high in nitrogen (peas return this to the soil) that are also planted in the shade and hit with high heat will flower. Flower = no fruit! So we had to pull them up. So sad!

- Peas like to grow up very thin trellis. Next year or this fall we will definitely be doing a teepee. The string we currently have is being pulled down by the peas, and honestly isn’t as “pretty” as I would like. The peas growing up the chain link fence however are doing awesome.

Pea Blossoms

- Just because the seed packet says that your carrot will be ready in 55 days does not make it so.

- Go with the best seeds. All of our seeds are from Seed Savers, and besides the taste, the fact they are 100% oganic and not GMO there is such love put in to these seeds. It’s so cool to know I’m eating a pea passed down through decades and decades by the Amish!

Provider Beans (Bush)

- Try, try again! The darn pigeons have basically killed just about everything I’ve planted in one spot of our yard. But I kept throwing new seed down in hopes that something might survive. We now have 7 baby swiss chard plants that are on their way UP!

- Herbs are a gardener’s best friend. I have always been afraid of herbs because I can never seem to keep them alive. This year I decided to plant a few together and the rest in their own pots all outside! And, they are all doing wonderfully. The key for our location is planting outside instead of inside I learned.


Yesterday’s Love

My peonies bloomed.

Yesterday Loves

I ate my first pea from the garden. Crunchy and sweet!

Yesterday Loves

And, my awesome little (big) brother arrived! Eleanor’s Uncle Drew!

Yesterday Loves

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

We’ve tried to soak up as much outdoor time as possible the past few days. Eleanor is starting to love it especially when the sun isn’t in her eyes! I keep joking with the neighbors that last year the garden took one day to put in and this year it has taken 10 weeks! But it has been so much more fun this year, too. We have been out in the garden more which has created a lot of neighborhood buzz, and I think we are already showing Eleanor how much the outdoors mean to us as individuals and as a family.


We have so much growing in the garden right now!
Peas, radishes, boxwood basil, purple basil, regular ole basil, dill, peppermint, lettuce, cucumbers, swiss chard, tomatoes (cherry, big boy and roma), green, red and lilac peppers, carrots, beets, yellow squash, butternut squash, zucchini, and green beans! We just have to get corn seedlings sometime in the next two weeks and put those in and we will be set – oh and I need to desperately plant the potatoes! It might seem odd that we have so many cool and hot weather plants going at the same time, but since we started 10 weeks ago a lot of our plants are growing in succession. Last night I made one of our first meals with our radishes – Stir fried chicken with lime, chile, and radish. And, it was delicious!

Boxwood Basil

Pea sprouts




Nathan dug up along the fence line this weekend between our house and our neighbors to plant more peas and cucumbers. Our neighbor is this funny little man from Puerto Rico who fixes bicycles, raises pigeons, plays the cowbell, and seriously speaks to dogs! He is always asking about the baby and giving us gardening gloves! I have about ten new pair of gardening gloves now. So we thought we would return the favor with as many fresh cucumbers he would like to have!

I put Eleanor in the Baby Bjorn facing forward for the first time yesterday, and we enjoyed a nice walk through all of our community gardens. One of the many great things about living in Chicago and Humboldt Park is the numerous community gardens. I love strolling through them to see what everyone else has growing. One had the biggest lilac bush (shhh I snapped a few off to put in a vase at home).

Nathan also set up the garden table out front for me to enjoy during the morning sun. This weekend I squeezed some reading and coffee time in, and it was lovely (even the pigeons think so).



Today Eleanor and I have a date with two other mama’s and their babies! I’m super excited, and need to go get dressed. It’s barely 50 degrees out and raining, so I suspect we will be in doors for this one.

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Hey look at how cool this is! Our Front Yard Farm was featured in a post about outdoor inspiration on Re-nest! So cool!

Especially nice after we spent all day working the garden today. We currently have a plethora of radishes growing (I put in another 92 today on top of the others already sprouting), peas, carrots, beets, and tomorrow I’m going to attempt putting in lettuce. We planted some broccoli, chives, and lettuce about two weeks ago but after all the rain we received I’m pretty sure it’s been washed away. I also planted flowers in all of our pots.

I actually have a bit of a red neck today from the sun! It was all but 65 degrees, but the sun was beaming. I normally always put on sunscreen when I’m out in the garden but totally forgot today. Oh, my brain! Nathan shoveled compost all day, and we are now both relaxing on the couch with sore backs. Ow.