Saturday, April 9, 2011

planting, thriving, and straw bale gardening...

it's only the first week of april and my yard is already booming! we have strawberries ready to be picked, a tomato plant that is thriving, cilantro that we have already cut and used twice, a mint plant that is screaming to be made into a fresh and delicious mojito, and a peach tree that has literally hundreds of beautiful green fuzzy fruits ALL over her! the wooden pergula is crawling with wysteria vines that are smelling so sweet and looking amazing. and we have azaleas in about every color imaginable. i love spring so much for this very reason... life is blossoming everywhere you look! 
 what started out so cute and small are now growing and turning red and ready to be picked!
our rosemary that is potted in an enormous pot has been growing strong for a year now. i can't imagine cooking without rosemary. it just makes everything so much better.
 the wysteria vine that is climbing all over our pergula... and smells fantastic!
the mint plant that is already in need of a bigger pot.
knock out roses are opening up every day.
azaleas in every shade of pink.
my peach tree that i admire every single day... just waiting to pick that first one and taste the freshness! if you look closely at the photo, you will find about 15 peaches... and this is barely three limbs of the tree... we will have more than we know what to do with.
ground cover is seriously covering... and hydrangea should be blooming any day.
and now for my favorite part... vegetable gardening.
we have been planning on what kind of garden we want to do, and dreaded the idea of digging up our yard to find the best soil and places to plant. instead, we found a genius way of vegetable gardening: straw bale gardening. if you google this, you will find many sites that describe how this is done. for a quick overview... you buy your straw, and it cannot be hay because that carries seed, and you fertilize and compost the straw for about 10 days. i have read posts where people started the straw in winter, and i have read about fertilizing in as short as 7 days. you have to keep it soaked with water, and gradually decrease your fertilizer. when it's ready, you just dig out a little hole and plant your veggies and herbs! ours is coming along amazing and we will be putting our plants in tomorrow! let's pray this works!!! so far we have two tomato plants, big boy and roma, broccoli, red lettuce, romaine lettuce, squash, zucchini, red pepper, green pepper, cucumbers, oregano, parsley, chives, basil, and thyme. those will be going in the bales of straw. then in pots we are starting seeds of carrots, string beans, and snap peas. i also have a pot with sweet banana peppers and jalapeno peppers. i am more than excited and will blog weekly progress of the garden! 
here is all our plants sitting in the sunshine just waiting to be planted.
those were the beginning of the seeds - minus the carrot seeds, those just looked like dust they were so tiny. i read that you should soak your seeds for about 30 min before planting them. then when they are buried in the soil, mist them with water, cover with plastic wrap and poke holes in the top. that allows the germination to begin (hopefully). 
these are our planted carrot, snap pea and bean seeds... just patiently waiting to see some little green sprouts. and the mint also got a new pot... a larger one!
 the banana and jalapeno pepper plants are looking good so far.
and this is our amazing straw bale garden... being fertilized and watered about twice a day! 
happy spring and happy gardening to all!


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