WOOHOO! I’ve got my first phase of the Greenhouse Garden Project done. Lots of cinder blocks, soil and sweat went into it. The last few days, I worked on Part III, IV, and V. My muscles are sore and aching. No pain, no gain!
In Part III, I placed the cinder blocks, filled the raised bed with soil, amended the soil with all kind of goodies, and planted the peppers and herbs. Now, the roots of the bell peppers, poblano and jalapeño can stretch out and grow more fruit. We have some peppers on the plants already. They are still small. But it’s great to see them growing so well. While I put the cinder blocks down, I did it on both sides of the greenhouse. That’s why it was so easy and fast to get the other parts done in a decent amount of time.
Part IV will be a blooming herb bed to invite pollinators. Yes, when it gets very warm I leave the windows open in Summer. Usually, I’m getting visitors like bees, butterflies, moths, spiders. and sometimes even a curious Northern Cardinal fledgling, which needs help to find its way back out to its parents. In Part V, I just filled up the walking area with mulch and put down some step stones for easy access to the vegetables and herbs. The mulch just needs to settle a little bit. It feels like walking on a sponge. 😀
Kevin got me some succulents as a present for our upcoming Anniversary. This was very sweet of him. I just need to find a perfect spot for them. They can handle temperatures from 45°-100°F. And they prefer a slightly shaded area. In Texas, it can get much cooler and much warmer. So, I have to remember to bring them inside on those hot Summer days.
Three days of warm weather was just too much for the broccoli. Today it was showing some signs, that it would bold soon. So I just cut the florets off, and used them for tonight’s supper. It was delicious. For the last couple of weeks, I pull some leaves from the lettuces, spinach, and herbs on a daily basis. And Sara sits in the garden and nibbles on some salad and watches the sunset, every night.
Last week, I’ve been sowing some cucumber seeds in a couple of raised beds. So far, I can see two small plants. Hopefully, the other seedlings will pop up, soon. It would be excellent, if we can add fresh tomatoes and cucumbers to our salads, in late Spring and early Summer.
It is getting warmer, and the garden is coming along very well. The broccoli florets get bigger, the lettuces begin to form heads, and the peppers are in full bloom. After school Sara comes into the garden, picks a few lettuce leaves and some herbs, and gets ready to make herself a sandwich in the house. She calls the lettuce bed, her “Nibble Garden”, because she can nibble on the lettuces, vegetables and herbs like a little bunny.
Every day, I worked on the first bed a little bit in the evenings. Yesterday, I finally got it done. First I built the wall from cinder blocks, I had sitting in the garden. After the wall was in place, I filled the bed with compost, soil, and topped it off with some mulch. I dug big holes for the tomato plants. But before I planted them, I dropped more compost, corn meal, Epsom salt, expanded shale, and worm casting in the holes. Then I picked off the bottom three tomato branches and sat the tomatoes deep in the bed. That way, the plants can produce more roots, which can get more water and nutrition from the soil. Next to the tomatoes, I planted some marigolds to keep the Tomato Hornworm under control. Last year, I had one eating half of my tomato plant in one night. They are pretty looking caterpillars. But they are evil little boogers. The bottom cinder blocks, I filled in with old mulch. I wanted to save on the soil. Usually herbs don’t need deep soil to grow well. Now, we also have lavender, strawberries, orange mint, basil, lemon thyme, parsley, and dill. The parsley and the dill will be for swallowtail caterpillars in Summer. I’m glad, I’ve got this bed done before the rain storm came in.
This Summer/Autumn season I didn’t do much in our home garden, due to health issues earlier in the year. Therefore, I don’t have very little for harvest. Our green onions and rainbow chard did well throughout the year. Other than that, we only have a few herbs left. It is still better, than nothing at all. I will take a break from gardening, until January; it will be time for seedlings to start for the Spring/Summer season. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy our fresh herbs until it gets too cold for them as well. 😉
This morning, I purchased some flowers, peppers and parsley from the nursery. Since I always run out of fresh parsley, I had to get another plant while I’m waiting for the seeds to grow. When I looked at the parsley plant, I’ve noticed I had a Black Swallowtail caterpillar munching on a leaf. I don’t mind taking the caterpillar home with me. Now, my parsley will go for the wildlife, again. This evening, I’ll look for a wasting basket to transfer the Black Swallowtail caterpillar over to my dill plant. I don’t want Mr. Cardinal knocking on the door for this particular kind of food. There are still plenty of other goodies for the Cardinal Family in my garden. I have to cover the plant up to protect the Black Swallowtail, until it turns into a chrysalis. Then I can bring it into my greenhouse to become a beautiful butterfly. Once it is ready for the outdoors, the girls and I will name it and release it into the wild.
Our peppers and tomatoes love the warm May weather. And the other vegetables, fruits herbs and flowers (to attract pollinators) like it as well. Yesterday I’ve noticed, we are raising Cabbage White Butterflies inside the greenhouse. I found a couple of empty chrysalis on the Ornamental Kale leaves. No wonder, we have so many flying Cabbage Whites flying around in our garden. Well, I can’t blame them. There is a lot of cabbage to feast on for the caterpillars. And Family Cardinal is happy to get fresh caterpillars for their young. Here are several photos of what’s growing in our raised bed garden in mid-May.
May has arrived, and finally we get warmer days and nights. The day temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s (28º-31ºC), while at night they are in the upper 50s to low 70s (15º-21ºC). This is perfect weather for our crop to grow in the raised beds. Kevin, the girls and I are excited that the peppers are getting bigger. The peach tree is heavy with fruits. And soon, we can harvest some Romaine Lettuce. I love dinners with fresh harvested salad from the backyard. Here are some photos I’ve captured from the raised bed garden, today.