Our second summer in our house. I had big plans for it. A summer so full of homegrown produce that we would forego the grocery store for weeks.
Ok, maybe my expectations weren’t that high, but I had big plans. I also had a baby. If there is one thing that makes tending gardening difficult, it’s tending a baby that’s not really ready to play with you outside. So alas, the garden was actually me throwing some seeds in the ground and letting nature do its thing.
These sunflowers were red and orange and one grew to about ten feet tall (see blurry plant in background). No joke.
Cherry tomato plants grow wild in our yard (yep), so I just replanted sixteen plants in the garden (and gave away a few and threw away a ton). Sixteen didn’t seem like a lot when they were little, but then our garden became a tomato jungle. It’s a mess, but really great too: Little Girl asks to go pick tomatoes for me. Ha. Um, yes.
The zinnias grew like champs, some of them are as tall as me and still flowering (alllll summer long). Fresh bouquets for months.
And then this little garden gate was built by Mr. P and his brother (thank youuuu). You guys know we’re a resourceful crew around here, but when Mr. P talked about using a chain link fence gate for this, I was not feeling it at all. But then we pulled off the chain, replaced it with wire to match the fence, and painted the gate oil rubbed bronze. Not such a bad start.
Notice our makeshift rain barrel in the background. An incredible way to garden on the cheap (and oh so green). What you see in the plots from back to front: zinnias, an empty plot where swiss chard was supposed to come up, cherry tomatoes, and cantaloupe plants. In the plot on the right is basil.
Here is the garden today.
A couple of rain barrel stands, a little clearance paint from Lowes (that happened to match our house color perfectly #winning), and some rain and voila. The sunflowers were stunning, but they seem to attract squash bugs (??), so as soon as they are yielding seeds I pull them. It’s a little too Indiana Jones for me walking through a plant cave of leaning sunflowers covered in bugs. Plus, I fed the sunflower seeds to the chickens–such spoiled girls.
Fresh basil. Oh, it always shows up just as everything else is finishing up and breaths new life in the garden. Cannot wait to pick some of this for the kitchen.
Maybe you noticed this? This was my potted hibiscus tree. This is what happens when you have a one-year-old labrador. Shasta. So stupid. So cute. But so stupid.
Oh and he’s huge now. Which is why he was able to drag this tree around the yard (pot included).
So looking at these rain barrels. Mr. P found a company around here that was giving away their barrels for free. The mister grabbed a few, sawed off the top, installed spigots in the bottom and just recently built these stands for them which drastically increases the water pressure. As for this extra barrel below, it’s just temporary. We are getting so much rain here this summer that we needed
a place to breed more mosquitos because we don’t have enough an overflow to hold all the extra water. Don’t hate me, California.
I’m really loving these stands. Suddenly the barrels look a lot less like yard trash.
There is something so satisfying about using what you have, whether that’s rain or materials or cherry tomato plants that grow in your yard. Projects have a way of sending you to Lowes six times in one day (yep, has happened), which just sucks the joy out of creating.
Just lately Nugget has been big enough and the heat has been improved enough that we’ve been spending afternoons out here. Little girl picks tomatoes (“pomatoes”), Nugget tries to eat grass, and I start to feel more and more like myself again. I never imagined enjoying gardening, but there is very little that restores me the way being in this space does. Pulling weeds, hoeing, watering, sweating, picking, planting, having my hands in the soil. This is so my happy place.