Saturday, July 24, 2010

And the fun begins!

I was watering the garden this evening when I spotted some green poking out from the weed guard I have over my watermelon and pumpkin seeds. Upon closer inspection, I found a pumpkin plant poking through! Needless to say I was really excited, as it hasn't even been a week since the kids and I planted them. Looking around at the other spots, I found a few more pumpkins growing and one watermelon plant coming up. That is one of the things that fascinates me about plants and gardening—that a seed that has been dormant for over a year, once wet, will begin producing a tiny plant, only to grow larger and make a beautiful flower, or an edible fruit. Isn't nature cool?!

Below is a photo of my overall garden, which measures about 15' x 15'.

The green stuff you see growing is grass that needs to be removed (a never ending process). On the left, in the fenced area, is the watermelon and pumpkins. Next (2 dark area on top and bottom) I planted marigolds in an effort to attract bees to the flowers on my fruits and veggies. I may have to plant other flowers later, but we'll see what happens with the timing. The 2 rows at the top right are okra and cow peas, respectively. (Note: If you ever plant cow peas, only plant one short row as they produce profusely.)

I have a few books that I found at the library that I will share in the next post.

Garden guest

While feeding my dog, I spied what looked like a neon green jellybean on the ground. However, it began to move. Upon picking it up, it curled into a ball shape in my hand, as if to protect itself, much like a rolly polly. I let it relax, it opened, and began crawling across my hand. What I had is the caterpillar you see below.

After allowing my wife and kids to see it, I let it go. I later discovered, through a Google image search, that this little guy is the offspring of a Great Purple Hairstreak butterfly. I don't remember seeing any Great Purple's around here, so I am hoping this little guy (and any others that may live in the yard) make it to adulthood. From a distance, it is hard to tell which end is the head! I read, too, that they are renowned for their approachability.

In other news, I planted some okra today with "borrowed" seed from my father-in-law. That will be the extent of what I plant this year. I will post photos as things grow (fingers crossed). I plan to do more next year, so I will be doing a lot of research in an effort to increase my yeilds in all that I decide to plant.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Gardening from the heart

If you ask me why I like to garden, my first answer might be "because I sit in front of a computer for 8 hours each day, and gardening gives me a reason to get outside!" However, that would not be fully correct, as I had a few gardens while still in high school. While I do enjoy being outside more these days due to my current job, gardening has always held a place in my heart, much as my love of drawing.

A recent rekindling of my desire to dig in the dirt comes from my current success at propagating some trees from both seed and cuttings—one I thought had died, only to discover new leaves on it yesterday morning. As a result, I have now planted some watermelon and pumpkin seeds, along with some cow peas, in a small plot of dirt at the back of my property. I plan to look into more mid summer/cool weather vegetables to grow.

This Fall I plan to plant some blueberries, and if the budget allows, a few apple trees.

I will be updating this blog as often as possible with my progress as well as any useful information I find.