Veggie Garden Update

I got all my veggies planted and am enjoying seeing them grow. I started most of the seedlings indoors about three or four weeks earlier than last year to give them a better head start, which ended up being around the last week in February .  I really think I could have started them earlier though, especially the peppers because they take a long time to sprout. Next year I am going to start them on the first of February, which will be fun because February is such a boring month for me!



My tomatoes are doing great!  I did three regular tomato plants and three beefsteak tomato plants. I am overexcited to have fried green tomato sandwiches!
My cucumbers are doing great too. I’m not a huge fan of cucumbers, but I kind of want to try making pickles so I planted them anyway.

I decided to add more flowers to my garden this year. I plants lots of marigolds and nasturtiums that I grew from seed to look pretty among my veggies and also to help keep bad bugs away from them.
 I love how the nasturtium leaves look like tiny lily pads. 
Last year suqash borers ruined every squash plant I had. So this year I put little shirts around them to protect them. Hopefully it works!  I planted so many different kinds of squash and gourds.
Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are coming along nicely. I put in new plants every couple of weeks to hopefully have a constant harvest.
Last year my Luffa plants failed miserably. They finally grew fruits but they didn’t mature in time before the first frost. This year I started them way earlier but dang bugs kept coming along and chewing them! Even though I put strong repellent on them. They look pretty sad but are making progress, I really hope they work this year!

My peas are doing great!  Last year they didn’t do anything. They sprouted, looked really bad and then died. This year a planted about 4 times as many thinking most of them would die, but, actually they all lived and now I have peas taking over an entire corner of my garden. But that’s okay because I love peas!

The only thing I am discouraged about are my carrots. I planted seeds weeks ago and they have barely done anything. I put a bunch of fertilizer on them so maybe that will speed them up. Haha.

Are you growing any vegetables this year? 
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Zucchini Carrot Apple Pecan Bread

I recently came across this recipe on pinterest and just knew I had to try it! I made a few modifications and halved the recipe because we really don’t need to be eating two whole loaves of bread, but you can always double it back up if you want.

Ingredients:

Half a cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1/8th cup of orange juice
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice (Or any combination of spices really!)
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 cup of shredded zuccini
1 half cup of diced apple
1 half cup of chopped pecans


Shred the zucchini and carrots in a food processor or with a grater, dice the apple and the pecans if needed and set aside. 
Soften the butter and cream it with the sugar, then add the egg, vanilla and orange juice.
 Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add them to the wet ingredients and add the veggies.

Once everything is mixed together, scoop it into a greased bread pan and bake at 350 until done, approximately 50 minutes.

Once it has had time to cool, slice into it an enjoy! 

I really liked this bread, the colored veggies were pretty and gave it an interesting texture and a yummy flavor! I would definitely bake this again.

Does anyone else’s kitchen turn into a disaster zone when they’re done baking?  I can’t seem to help but make a giant mess! It’s all part of the fun though.

My Veggie Garden- Lessons Learned

All last winter I dreamed of starting my vegetable garden.

It turned out just as I had imagined it, but not everything worked out like I hoped. I learned plenty of good lessons this year that I will definitely pay more attention to next time.

Lesson 1) Trellises need to be staked in the ground

I made my own trellises this year and didn’t think about having to steak them in the ground, so whenever a strong gust of wind came about, they fell right over! Luckily my plants didn’t snap in half. The thinner ones I was able to push into the dirt but I couldn’t do it with the thicker ones. Next year I will probably attach some write to the bottom of them to push in the ground.

Lesson 2) Squash borers! 

These are the worst things ever! The stupid little worms hatch from eggs laid at the base of squash plants and bore their way up through the center of the plant, cutting off its water supply and killing it slowly. I lost every single squash plant I planted, and that was what I was most looking forward to. 😦  Next year I will sprinkle repellent on them like crazy.

Lesson 3) Plant Early Crops Sooner

I waited too long to plant my cooler season crops like peas and spinach so they ended up not doing much and then burning up as the weather got hot.


Lesson 4) Self pollination is a good idea.

I had plenty of bees buzzing around my garden so I didn’t think I would have any problem with pollination, yet all my future squash would turn brown and fall off right after they were done flowering. Once I starting self pollinating each fruit, I didn’t lose any. Until the squash borers came around of course!

Lesson 5) Loose Dirt is Good Dirt

Around here our soil is a solid mass of red clay. It was a lot of work to loosen it up and and mix it with nice dirt so I probably didn’t do a great job with that. As a result my carrots, beets and radishes didn’t do to well, so next year I’ll make sure to get that dirt nice and loose! 


Lesson 6)  Hungry Rabbits!

Never underestimate the power of a hungry rabbit!  I had to wrap my fence in rabbit wire to keep these guys out, otherwise I think they would have eaten everything.

All in all it was a pretty good vegetable garden, I am really looking forward to next year!

What are some lessons you have learned about vegetable gardening?

Cosmo the Hungry Rabbit

This spring a little rabbit moved in under our back deck.

I named him Cosmo.

I saw him almost every morning, hoping around the yard and munching on all the clover in our grass.




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But it wasn’t long before he discovered the yummy new veggies I had planted in my vegetable garden!

The fence was no match for this tiny guy! And he had quite the appetitie. He ended up eating three bell pepper plants, two hot pepper plants, three eggplant plants and an entire broccoli stalk all within a matter of days! I knew it was time to rabbit proof my fence if I wanted any hope of getting fresh vegetables.

And it worked great! You can check out my post about building it here.


I fed him fresh fruit, oats and water in hopes of being able to pet him, but I could never get close enough.

As he got bigger I saw him less, but he still came back to visit every now and then.



Then the best thing ever happened….
Cosmo had a baby!!!!!!!!

Now they both come visit my yard 🙂

Veggie Garden Update- Plenty of Veggies!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a veggie garden update!



Ok so some of my bell pepper plants started growing… Well, whatever these things are… o____0 No idea what happened there.

Annnnd, I know you’re all wondering how my luffa plants are doing…

They’re doing great! They’ve taken over the fence and are starting to flower!


There is a future luffa, waiting to bloom and be pollinated!


I kind of let my broccoli get out of hand..
This is one of two gourds I’ve gotten. Sadly all of my squash plants got infested with squash borers and most of the vines died!! 😥 I replanted them but I’m not sure they’re grow in time before the first frost hits. I was really looking forward to drowning in squash this year!

But other than my squash fiasco my garden has been doing great! I love going out and picking fresh veggies from the backyard.

What are your favorite vegetables to plant?

Veggie Garden Update: Flowers Galore!

All of my vegetable plants are in bloom!


Tomato 

Cucumber

Squash


My Zucchini haven’t started yet



My bean plant has outgrown it’s trellis!

Good news, my Luffa sprout survived the rabbit attacks and  is doing great! Better news, I have TWO of them! Shortly after posting that update I noticed that two more luffa sprouts popped up, making three! But then a bug came and ate one of them so I was left with two. I’m just happy they grew!

Eggplant flower

 My green beans!

Pepper plant

I can’t wait for all the vegetables!

Veggie Garden Update: The Finished Fence!

In my last veggie garden update, I talked about how a certain little rabbit named Cosmo had been visiting my veggie garden. 

I was using a rabbit repellent spray which seemed to be working, but shortly after my post that hungry guy ate ALL of my eggplant and banana pepper plants, most of my bell pepper plants, one chili pepper plant and entire broccoli plant! All in a matter of a few days! So I knew it was time to line the fence with rabbit wire.

First I had to seal the entire fence with a water proof and UV proof sealant. It took forever!
Then we took turns stapling the rabbit wire to the inside of the fence. It was tricky to unroll it, but the stapling part was fun! We had to be so careful not to squish the vegetable plants. At one point I screamed because I thought Steven had stepped on my last hot pepper plant. Turns out he had stepped just in front of it but I gave him a good scare! 
Making sure the gate was rabbit proof

We worked on it every evening for about a week. We were worried the wire would make the fence ugly, but I acutally like it! I think it makes it look more like a vegetable garden and gives it a finished look. If I had known this ahead of time we would have finished the fence before we planted the vegetables so it would have been easier. We ended up losing a few bean plants, one got squished and one got covered in the sealant, turned brown and died. But I had a bunch of bean plants so not big deal!

The fence has been up for a few weeks now and so far no more veggie fatalities! I can’t believe one little rabbit could do so much destruction, but at least now my plants are safe 🙂

It was fun building the fence, but I am looking forward to next year when all I need to do is rough up the soil and put the plants in the ground. 

Bamboo Trellis Tutorial



When I was planning my vegetable garden, I definitely knew I would need trellises. I was planning on planting lots of viney plants; cucumbers, squash, beans, eggplants ect. What I really wanted were fancy wooden trellises, but I also didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on them because I knew I needed a lot.  I thought about making them myself, but then I would have to buy wood and use power tools and that just seemed beyond my capability. Haha. Then I remembered there were a lot of bamboo forests around my neighborhood so I thought about sneaking and chopping down a few stalks to use for the trellises, but luckily someone down the street had already chopped a bunch down in their back yard and had put it on the side of the road! So one morning me and my mom hopped in her car and went to get them. But just our luck a city truck had beat us there by about 2 minutes and was already picking them up. -_- We drove down another street and amazingly enough someone else had also chopped down a bunch of bamboo from their yard so we loaded a bunch up in her car as quick as we could before the city truck made its way around! 

I was so happy with how they turned out, I thought I would write a little tutorial on how I made my vegetable trellises.


Step 1: Obtain bamboo sticks.

You can chop them down yourself, wait for someone else to do it for you and then take some for yourself, or you can buy them at lowes. They’re about a 1-3 dollars a piece there. 



Step 2: Cut them down to size

I cut mine down to 4 feet each with a saws all. (Well my husband did that part! Me + power tools does not seem like a good combination!) I didn’t cut down the thinnest pieces of bamboo yet because I was saving those for the crossbeams and it’s hard to know what size you’ll need ahead of time. 

Of course if you choose to buy them from a store you can skip this step!

Step 3: Use hot glue to hold them in place

I used hot glue to temporarily hold the three pieces in place so it would be easier to wrap the twine. The hot glue does not stick to the bamboo very well though so you have to very careful not to bump it.

Step 4: Wrap the twine

I wrapped the twine very tightly where the three sticks intersected together. I didn’t have a specific pattern I followed, I just made sure I wrapped them the twine around them in every way possible. When I was done I squirted some hot glue into any crevices to hold the twine in place.

Step 5: Add the crossbeams

This is where the thin uncut bamboo pieces come in. I measured and cut the exact length I needed and then used hot glue to hole them in place while I wrapped the twine, just as I did for the top of the trellis. I did two layers but you can do as many or as little as you want. You can even leave this part off, but your trellis will not be as stable without at least one level.

And that’s it! It’s pretty simple to do and only takes me about 15 minutes to put one together, best of all it was completely free except for the twine! (which was only about two bucks)

My veggie anniversary

I have now been a vegetarian for one whole year! I don’t remember the exact date I ate my last piece of meat because I never officially made a big decision to stop eating meat, it just sort of happened, and I know it was sometime during the last week of may. So I figured why not make June first the date of my veggie anniversary.  Or should I say, veggieversary! hehe. (I know, I’m a few days late writing this) Anyway, I thought I would share the story of my first year being a vegetarian.

Not eating meat was something I had wanted to do for years, but never thought I would be able to; there seemed to be so many good meals that contained all kinds of meat! And how would I cope at Thanksgiving? Easter? At summer cookouts?!! But one day last year I realized I hadn’t had any meat in about 3 days as a fluke, so I was curious as to how long I could keep it up. I didn’t really expect it to last that long but before I knew it a whole week had gone by!  I decided that maybe I would just try to avoid eating meat and only eat it on occasion, but whenever the occasion came up I felt like it would be cheating to eat it. Plus I’ve always liked to see how long I can keep something going, and the thought of starting all over again after I had a little bit of meat felt like a failure.

 At first it was kind of hard; I felt like I could hardly eat anything. I remember going to a charity cookout downtown for lunch one day with some coworkers and the only thing that was served was hamburgers. So I ate a tomato with cheese on a bun, and I don’t even like tomatoes very much! Another time I went to a wing restaurant and just snacked on celery the whole night. But I soon noticed that I didn’t even miss the meat, in fact, I thought a lot of meals were actually improved without it! Like lasagna! Being a vegetarian also made ordering at restaurants very easy, I usually only have about one or two options at most places and for an indecisive person like me, that’s great news! 

Throughout most of the year I was unsure I could actually avoid eating meat forever. For instance, before I became a vegetarian Steven and I had decided to serve a bunch of hot wings at our wedding and his uncle’s delicious beef stroganoff, which was one of my favorite meals. But surprisingly enough I didn’t feel like I was missing out by not eating it. I also thought for sure I would have to have my mom’s famous meat pie at Christmas time (something I would crave the entire year!) But nope. I didn’t even want that. It’s funny how once you stop eating something you eventually don’t even want it anymore. I used to love bacon, now the thought of it grosses me out. I think after declining the meat pie last Christmas was when I really knew I could be a vegetarian forever! 

I thought I would share a few veggie recipes, some of my favorites and some I would like to try.

Zucchini fritters– This look so good! Like healthy pancakes 🙂
Spinach burgers– We usually have store bought veggie burgers, but I’d love to try making my own!
Vegetarian bean chili– Just because you don’t eat meat doesn’t mean you can’t have chili! We made this last winter and it was sooo good.

Spinach balls– One of my favorite treats used to be my mom in law’s sausage balls so I was kinda sad about not eating them anymore. But then I found this amazing recipe and have made these a bunch of times!
  Zucchini squash sandwich– I came up with this yummy sandwich recipe when I was trying to come up with vegetarian sandwich ideas.


I’m so glad I decided to finally go for it and I am still surprised I was able to do it! I don’t even think twice about eating meat now. And  I also don’t feel  guilty when I see cows anymore. Haha


So if any of your guys have ever thought about being a vegetarian, you should try it! It may be easier than you think.

Veggie Garden Update

All my vegetables are planted and growing fast! 



I made those bamboo trellises myself, I’ll post a little tutorial on how to do it soon!



I was shocked to see how huge the beans were when they sprouted!


My cabbages are looking big, but I have no idea when they are ready to eat. The middle leaves aren’t clustered together like you would see on a store bought one, so I don’t know if that will happen eventually or if these ones are different and I could be eating them right now! :0

My cucumbers have bloomed!


 I can’t wait to make some fried green tomato sandwiches!

 And this here is my prized luffa sprout! If you remember from here, I blogged about growing your own luffas. I ordered these seeds online because I couldn’t find any in stores and it took months for them to get here, I thought for sure they got lost in the mail!  I planted a few seeds when the weather finally warmed up, and of course we had a suprise frost a few days later which killed them all. I planted some more, but after a few weeks I still wasn’t seeing any. 😦  So I frantically tried to germinate my last three inside a paper towel in a plastic bag and only ONE of them sprouted! I watch it like crazy and go out and check on him as often as I can. (Is crazy vegetable lady a thing??)
And this little guy is Cosmo! He lives in the wood pile behind the shed and he’s usually just hanging out in the yard munching clover whenever I go outside. I have been spraying rabbit repellent on my veggies and so far he hasn’t really bothered them. Although I think  I missed an eggplant and a pepper plant while spraying and sure enough, he ate the whole darn thing. -_- I was going to staple rabbit wire to the fence to keep the rabbits out, but Steven said that would be too ugly and convinced me to buy the repellent instead. If that bunny eats my luffa sprout I’m gonna be maaad. At both of them! Hehe.

I’m just so excited about my vegetable garden!  It’s exactly what my dream garden was when I wrote this post. It was my second ever blog post and I remember as I wrote it on that cold January day I was so excited I could hardly contain myself!

Here is my post from when we first started digging and here is one from where we built the fence!