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The Circle of Life: Sugar Snap Peas

Last week I picked one of my cucumbers and ate it!  It was firm, sweet, and delicious.  I have another one that’s growing and I think I’m going to wait until the middle of the week to pick it.  It’s amazing how quickly plants can grow.  It seems that my tomato plants have doubled in height, and there are tiny green tomatoes budding (finally)!

My sugar snap pea vines are withering and dying.  I asked Scott why they were dying off and he said that sugar snap peas peak and die.  So sad!  I was hoping to get some more snap peas from the vines before they died.  Maybe I’ll plant some more :)

My Dad planted some collard greens earlier in the season and the plants are starting to bud.  I can’t wait!  I’m going to have to hijack some of his collards and cook them myself, because I am the only one in my family that doesn’t eat pork.  Maybe I can convert some of my family members to greens that have been cooked with smoked turkey. 

Oh, and the above pic has nothing to do with my personal garden, but I love it.  I took the pic when I went to the Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon earlier this year..

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Sugar Snap Peas and Pitbulls

Flower of my straight-neck squash plant

It is so fun to go into the backyard and visit my garden now because everything is either flowering, or the “baby vegetables” are visible.  My sugar snap peas are growing like weeds, and I was able to pick a handful and snack on them last week.  My squash plants have beautiful yellow flowers, but no vegetable is visible yet, and my cucumbers are growing large as well.

Usually I like to go out into the garden to relax while I weed, prune, and water my plants.  However my neighbors recently acquired an almost-adult pitbull.  These people have to be the worst dog owners on the planet because they carelessly and constantly leave their gate open daily, which allows the dog to freely roam the neighborhood.  A couple of days ago my Dad was standing in the front of the house, and he said that the pitbull came from OUR backyard and surprised him.  My Dad went to check the garden and found that the dog had dug up some tomato plants.  We think that the dog was after the mole that lives in our garden (Remember my previous rant about the mole?  This is NOT the solution I wanted!  Be careful what you wish for people!)

Lately my garden time has been rushed because I fear that I’ll be caught alone with the pitbull in my backyard.  Those buggers are sneaky – you never seem to hear them creep up on you.

*Sigh*  I guess I’ll just carry my big shovel with me.  Pray for me, y’all!

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Soooooo, the sun has finally decided to come outside and play and the strawberries have followed!  I never knew that strawberry fruit literally grew out of the flower of the strawberry plant.  The strawberries from my garden are small, deep red, and delicious.  My other plants are coming along well, also.

I haven’t seen any evidence of the mole that lives in my garden, and hopes that s/he has moved on.  So far, my little garden has been easy to maintain.  I water my plants when I get off work in the morning (around 6 am/6:30ish), and pull any weeds that are trying to grow near them.  I also clip any yellow leaves (a tip from my garden coach, ScottWink).

I’m a little worried that raccoons will eat my veggies when they start to mature, as we some very active raccoons in my neighborhood.  When I was a child, I used to leave cucumbers, carrots, and potato salad in my backyard for them, and I’d eventually witness them eating what I left.  I wonder if there is any sure-fire way to keep pests away (moles included).  Hmmmm….

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Anyone who lives in Seattle knows that we haven’t had the best weather this month.  I heard a meteorologist on the news refer to this month as “Juneuary” and I feel that the tag is well deserved – especially since the cold snap that we had a couple of weeks ago seems to have killed many of my seeds!  Add to that the fact that there is a mole who lives in my garden, & apparently s/he loves to burrow under my sugar snap peas (which are doing fine, I might add).  Oh, if I only had a BB Gun (just kidding, PETA… I think)!

Scott (garden coach) didn’t seem phased by our setbacks.  He said that we could re-plant some of the seeds with the aid of compost.  When I told him that I would go to Lowe’s to pick up the compost, he mentioned that I should check out Lowe’s starts.  Wait, Lowe’s has starts?  I ended up purchasing cucumber and bell pepper starts, and Scott brought me some tomato and straight-neck squash starts.  We re-planted my green bean seeds along with all the starts, and are hoping for the best.  *sigh*

Seattle’s weather is so unpredictable that starts might be a great option.  We’ll see how this goes…

Side note:  When I visited my garden today, I noticed that there was a foam on the underside of one of the sugar snap pea leaves.  When I wiped the foam away, I noticed that there was a tiny bright green critter in all the foam.  The critter was cute and everything, but something is taking bites out my sugar snap pea leaves.  Does anyone know what lays their eggs in foam?  I know that bugs typically lay their eggs on the underside of leaves, but the critter was so small that I couldn’t tell what it was.

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More Seeds and maintenance


Last Monday (May 24th) Scott and I planted more seeds:  green beans, sweet  basil, and zucchini squash.  I am going to start my herb garden in the house, and am planning on using egg crates to plant the seeds.  Once the seeds start to sprout, I’ll put them in the ground :) .  Scott and I also dug up one of each of the previous seeds we planted, to ensure that they had sprouted.  Once we were satisfied that they had, we carefully covered them back up.

There is a huge rock pile in my backyard and I decided to use them to make home-made markers for my garden.  I took a black sharpie and labeled the rocks with what I had planted in the area.  Then I placed each labeled rock in a shallow well in the general area of the crop.

Scott and I also figured out how to “propagate” (google it!) collard green seeds.  My father had some collard green plants that returned (don’t remember the proper term for this) from last year, so I plucked a few of the seeds off.  The seeds didn’t look like seeds at all -  they actually resembled the stalk of a small flower.  In order to propagate them you must first dry the seeds out, so they are currently drying in my room.  I look forward to planting them!

We’ve had some cold and rainy weather this May, so my tomatoes and peppers will have to wait until the sun decides to be more consistant.

Gardening is a lot easier than I thought.  That is to say: it’s a lot easier than forking over money at the grocery store to buy some produce from who-knows-where, and was picked before it was ripe Wink

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Seeds in the Ground!

Soooo, I met with Scott (my garden coach) on Monday, and we planted some things!  My backyard is pretty overgrown with weeds, blackberry bushes, and there are even a few fallen tree branches.  To say that I thought the work to prep my garden would be overwhelming is an understatement.  However once we got started, time flew by pretty quickly.  In the span of two hours, Scott and I dug up weeds, turned over soil, and planted broccoli, sugar snap peas, and strawberries.  Next week we’ll plant watermelon, zuccini squash, and an herb garden.  2 hours worth of (inital prep) work, and I’ll have delicious healthy free food by this summer.  Why hadn’t I dont this yet?!?!

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