Autumn Gardening 

September (and half of October) has flown by – that will happen when most of your week is busy with school, family, and grad work. I have a short break between classes right now, so I’m in frantic finish some projects mode.

Earlier in September, we harvested a 22 pound moon and stars watermelon from my parents’ garden. Funny to think that my son weighs about the same…

We took it to a friends’ house and only ended up eating some of it, enjoying leftovers during the remainder of the week.

I took this shot with the Prisma app, of my mom’s garden and our melon with a large zucchini. I always find fall to be so bittersweet, the coming cool balanced with the bountiful harvest as a result of the long, lovely summer days.

We also harvested some ghost peppers, by night, wearing gloves of course. I opted not to try these beauties. Though Eric and a friend said they were, “pretty warm.”

I’ve been prepping plants to bring in for the winter, as we had our first frost this past week. My Rosemary plant is so happy it bloomed this fall – I’ve never seen this before. They have the loveliest lavender delicate flowers. I look forward to fresh herbs in the howling, bitter dead of winter.

Our pumpkin and squash plants flourished this summer – some were intentionally planted and some volunteers from the compost pile. We picked these three beauties last week, before the frost.

Then we discovered two more large, but still-green pumpkins in the garden! Those sneaky little devils.

The pumpkins, frost, and coming of October inspired me to set up for Halloween.

I put my pulled the corn roots, after harvesting my black corn. The creepy roots, combined with my ceramic pieces from AP art class in high school, create the perfect spooky mood by my front door.

A few dried stalks, a rubber snake, and a ceramic-cast hand are perfect in the now empty planters at my front door.

I placed a few random ceramic masks, created from molds, around on the ground, slightly covered in leaves. My kids still find these frightening, so outside decor they stay.

Spring Gardening

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We tore out a section of our railing in April.  We left the section around the door, but the resulting space is along the walk to the house is quite wonderful – no more walking all the way around a paint flaking, rusty, shaky railing to get to the yard.

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After removing the railing, we immediately dug out two new beds.  I planted parsley, fennel, marigolds, purple basil, nasturtium, and sage.

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My other big front yard project has been adding two raised beds.  We filled them by the light of an almost-full moon, while listening to Prince, on the day we heard of his untimely death.  Night time gardening, when else can you get uninterrupted time to play in the dirt, when you have young children?

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The idea for the beds in the front yard came from the book, The Edible Front Yard, by Ivette Soler.  I have focused on planting edibles that we A. love to eat and B. look nice.  The kids have absolutely loved checking the status of the plants, weeding, and helping with watering.

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The same day I planted items in the front beds, I received a shipment of live plants – hops and rhubarb.  I also tore out the giant kale root from last year’s giant of a plant.  I’ll have to look for the photo I took of the behemoth.  The root is a good indicator of how much kale likes my front yard – two plants came back from last year and are ready to start harvesting already.  A happy thing for me, but a sure sign that this past winter was not a harsh one at all.

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This is how we have been spending our afternoons after school – outdide, as Q says.  We built a bigger better sandbox for these two diggin’ fools – more on that later.

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Now that crazy April is over, we will be doing more of this.  I am so excited for summer this year – talk about enjoying the long days and sleep-filled nights, now that Q is almost 2 and G is almost 5.

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The other best part of the beginnings of warm weather in Iowa?  Biking!  We have been getting out on bikes every day without rain.  We hit up Mullet’s one evening for dinner and enjoyed the scenery along Gray’s Lake on the way home, with a detour for DQ.  This mama is ready for summer!