Garden Walk

I’ve never been a gardener other than just a dabbling here or there, mostly container type gardening and mostly beautification gardening other than some tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. It wasn’t a lack of desire, it’s just that the military lifestyle makes it difficult, new place, new climate…new everything!

Then I became a board member of River City Harvest, our community garden’s organization. Obviously I wasn’t asked to join for my gardening skills, but rather for my organizational and secretarial skills. Needless to say, sitting in the board meetings I realized I had no clue. So I signed up for the Master Gardener’s course 1 & 2.

Then I started the community garden on base so other people would have an opportunity to garden even though they were in the military.

And then I got the bug, a serious bug. I can’t believe how much I enjoy! Gah, I’ve been missing out my whole life!

Last year McGyver built me some raised beds cause I started to get interested in gardening (even before RCH). I selected a spot that wouldn’t be obnoxious to the yard…

But I didn’t know what I didn’t know. This raised bed above was set in nearly full shade. What? Plants want sun?

The one below was right next to but receives more sun, umm there seems to be a difference.

Although I have gone to ‘school’ for gardening there is nothing like experience!!! I am very pleased with myself regarding some 50% off plants I got at Wal-Mart. They were sorry looking but with some TLC and a sunny spot in the yard they are thriving.

Anaheim peppers

Tomato plant of unknown variety.

And another tomato plant of unknown variety.

A little less successful is my herb pot; it did well when I was in school in Missoula but not this year. We’ve had much more rain and I have no drain holes. I thought it was a smart move because it’s usually so dry…

That experience thing again, everything has nearly drowned this year.

I bought this mint plant in Washington, it was huge and healthy. Then McGyver took it for a ride back here in the back of his pick-up. The 70 mph winds beat the poor thing almost to death. But I’ve been coddling it and mint is a trooper so it’s coming back, hope it makes it through the winter, I need for my Marjitos.

Then there were some abandoned seed potatoes, I through them in two pots, one with straw on top and one without to compare the growth.

Seems like I do a lot of rescuing.

I’m actually getting some beans, I feel like a proud mama.

Remembering how zucchini is, I only planted one.

I’m really most excited about these pickling cucumbers, I love to pickle!

I’m also enjoying seeing the cycle of life, my onions have babies. I want to plant them this fall and reap the benefits next year.

I’m especially proud of this guy. I had only a few of these seeds for pear tomatoes, a plant with both the yellow and red variety. I did a germination test and only one sprouted. I planted it and it grew!

On the floral side, I discovered that I loooove sweet peas. They are helping to disguise an ugly fence with a compost bin behind it.

This is a new little corner garden I started this year; it looks like I picked an ideal spot for my strawberries. I picked off all the buds this year so they could grow to be strong plants next year hoping that my cruelty will pay off in a big way next year.

Out in the alley way I planted this rhubarb, I was taking a risk since my neighbor had his entire plant stolen last year three days after he planted it. So far so good, a few bug nibbles but nothing that would harm the plant.

On a sad note, McGyver built me this bed for my Polano Raspberries. Apparently they are not happy here. I also think they got a bit neglected when I was gone for an extended period since they are located behind our garage.

I did this nice little pot with ‘Barbeque Rosemary’, silver thyme, an unidentified plant and a nasturtium. While the rosemary and thyme were happy, the others not so much. I’m hoping that my rosemary will survive if I bring it inside for the winter.

This is my newest and in a few years to be amazing shade garden. I have battled for 4 years with a bamboo like weed and finally have conquered it. This is the first time that I have ever planned a bed and ordered special plants. It’s very exciting to me.

Since my water logged plants weren’t doing well, I’ve moved some of them here after I photographed this to see if I can rescue them.

Another big step this year was having McGyver remove 3 very ugly male juniper bushes. When you looked out all you could see was the ugly bushes. Hidden in the back is a hydrangea and 3 lavender plants that I hope to see from my couch one day.

Check out the blooming Hen and Chicks bottom right, how cool!

I found this sweet plant hanger this year, but didn’t think about the fact that there wasn’t really a good spot to hang it. McGyver, MacGyvered it and it’s finally in place.

I still have work to do in this front garden. It’s a hodge podge of reckless gardening from the past. It gets a lot of sun and I’ve fried more than one plant there.

Too much shade, drowning, frying, oh yeah I’m doing it all!

I love this little corner that I share with my neighbor who is an avid gardner and my advisor and plant sitter and I want to be like her when I grow up.

At the community garden on base, things look okay but not great. I now know there is some things I should have done better.

I’d like you to meet my nemesis (this year).

The Colorado Potato Beetle. That little bugger has mowed down most of my potato plants. There’s no poison to take care of them and even if there was I am trying hard to stick to organic methods.

When I spot one, we walk over to the side walk and…

It gives me great pleasure to do this! Nasty little bugger, I don’t feel a bit bad (sorry for the graphics). The great thing about a community garden is the community. When one of my gardeners said her boys had bug boxes and would love to hunt the beetles on my plants and asked if I minded, I was ecstatic. Since those boys have been canvasing my plants daily, my potatoes are in recovery mode.

My tomato plants were donated to the garden, I have no idea what they are but I’m starting to get flowers!

My onions are doing fine, although they may be a wee bit too close.

Right after I planted at the beginning of the season we had heavy rain for about 10 days, many of my seeds washed away and my little babies drowned. I ran out to the nursery and bought some bigger plants, my heart couldn’t take the void.

And these little guys are pepper plants. Stunted, what? I think peppers are not in my future.

Although my corn isn’t tall, it’s starting to do its thing!

Here’s a view of some of the other garden’s to the West.

And here’s a view to the east. That’s Lynette (whom I just met and loved) picking some squash.

I have a lot to learn about gardening but I’m loving the journey. I hope you enjoyed the garden walk with me (except maybe the squashed bug, or maybe you did enjoy that).

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9 Responses to Garden Walk

  1. Betty August 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Great job on the gardening. Loved seeing your doggies staring out the window. About those stinking potato bugs – squish away, my dear! My mother paid me a penny each (I won’t say how many decades ago). It was great incentive.

    • Giggles August 5, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

      Betty glad I have a kindred spirit regarding the dogs and squishing the bugs.

  2. Terri Rene' August 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    New? Who knew? Looks pretty darned productive for a first year. WOWZA! Love the doggies in the window, it’s hilarious and really the gardens look great. I’ve got a secret for you concerning tomatoes but beware, they will super produce. Well, they do in Stevensville that’s for sure.

    As for those blasted potato beetles. I planted on marigold between each potato set and honestly, it worked like a charm. Not the little bitty cute things. The great big Inca giants that cost more but they keep the bugs at bay.

  3. Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) August 6, 2013 at 6:02 am #

    Thanks for the tour of your gardens, and LOL I can’t believe you photographed that smashed bug. I had a big garden at my last house, but when we moved to Highlands Ranch, there just wasn’t a good spot. This year I’m sharing a plot at our Community garden and having a ball. I got a late start, not planting until the week after Memorial Day. But things are flourishing and yes I agree, it’s incredibly rewarding. I’m wondering if you want that mint plant to survive. Mine took over the yard and a whisky barrel. I’ve had to kill it where it was growing in the yard and now it has to live in the barrel. Every year it wants to spread.

  4. Janice August 6, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Loved your garden tour–you’ve certainly taken on a lot for your first year. Love all the rescuing you are doing and your success–which is especially difficult in Montana with our short growing season. Lots of work and so worth it when you get to enjoy the fruits of your labors.

  5. Debra August 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Squash, flatten and obliterate those beetles. We are battling squash bugs here. They are so ugly and I hate the little buggers. Love your garden pics. And, I love the idea of community gardens. Kudos to you for volunteering and finding your love!

  6. Karen August 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Love this post! Looks like you’ve got a lot going on. It’s so much fun to grow something, pick it and eat it. We’ve already gotten a few tomatoes, rhubarb, radishes, lettuce, spinach, zucchini, and yellow squash. Our corn is doing great! Love the pic of the doggies looking out the window!

  7. Kitchen Butterfly August 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Loved this journey up and round your garden. It is such a thrill, and a wonder to ‘birth’ food :-)! I am in awe of the variety your garden has to offer.

    This year I haven’t done any gardening at all – an invasive plant ‘waterleaf’ has ravaged my beds…and I’m in no mood to attack it yet.

    That said, my mint is doing superbly…which is a blessing! Soon, I’ll get back into the groove.

    • Giggles August 14, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      I know the pain of an invasive plant, I battled a bamboo like plant for 4 years! I really am thrilled to grow food and am already making bigger and better plans for next year!