June 30, 2017

June Means Green

It has been a few months since my last post. I installed an app on my phone to make it easier to post  but the app is too glitchy and my time has been short at a computer. So here I am, with a little time and a lot to say about our gardens at Mootopia.

Speaking of Mootopia, Ryan and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on the 28th We are amazed how fast 20 years has gone by and thankful for our family, home and combined life experience of 20 years. We have experienced a lot of good and very little difficult. I do consider us very blessed.

Getting back to our gardens, I am happy to say they are mostly in, including a day or two of re-seeding due to poor germination. I found out this year that is common with my friends in zone 3b. Might be the wild weather swings we had in early June, just after planting. We thankfully have had an abundance of rain and now a week of cooler

 We make sure to add in cozy reading nooks in our garden spaces. This chaise lounge was just $25 at a second hand shop. Living the raised bed lifestyle means we live as much as we can in our garden spaces.

These beds were filled with a lush green crop of lamb's quarter, highly nutritious and enjoyable edible.

 These are our original Garden Circles. We built them in 2011 with basic materials we had lying around. They have lasted well and this summer we filled them with herbs, beans, peas, cucumbers, brassicas, peppers and tomatoes.

My girls are good gardeners. They worked hard to help me prepare and plant these beds. Our chickens did a lot of the weeding beforehand, scratching up the edible weeds and looking for bugs. The white wire fences do a dandy job of keeping them out once we plant seeds. 

We also setup and conditioned our straw bale garden. In the garden. We used the EZ Foldout beds and they hold 6 standard size bales. We use straw bales but one can use hay as well. We have 18 bales worth of tomatoes, peppers and melons growing. Straw bale gardening requires additional effort after conditioning as they loose moisture fairly quickly, hence the benefit of adding a frame like the EZ Foldout that blocks the wind. They also need to be fertilized every week or so. We use fish emulsion, which stinks abundantly but is wonderful for the plants.
 One of the best additions to our Garden Circles is an trellis archway. We added in several over the years to give our vine crops a good place to grow tall, health and big, very much like what Mootopia is for our kids.

 Garden Circles work great for strawberries! We are having a wonderful strawberry harvest, best yet! The plants winter over well and as long as we can get to the berries before the birds and insects do we have a tasty treat for breakfast or anytime.

I also love planting herbs in colanders. I collect vintage colanders from garage sales or second hand stores and line them with burlap. I also add a thin layer of wood mulch to the bottom before adding the soil. They need more water during the hot days but the appeal is charming and I can bring them into the house for winter.

And then smores. Summer would not be complete without smores. We use our fire pit often, 2-4 times a week and invite friends and family to a meal or just a nightime toasted treat.

And with that, should you ever want to visit, we welcome travelers to camp out in the wilds of Mootopia. Just email us at gardencirclesmn@gmail.com and we'll welcome you with a warm fire, a cozy space to put up a tent, or borrow one of ours, and a bit of good cheer as we weed the garden and make jellies or apple butter. Happy Gardening!