Thursday, July 4, 2013

Summertime in the Garden

Thus far, our 2013 garden has been amazing! This is the sixth year that the garden has been in this location, and it has been the best year we have had so far. The fewest bug problems, the fewest disease problems, and some of the best plant growth we have had. We did lose most of the onions and a number of our summer squash plants (the latter to insects we believe), and earlier in the year during planting time, had poor germination of the melons, zucchini, beans, and cucumbers so we've had to make second (and sometimes third and fourth!) plantings of those. Other than that, though, everything is doing so well!

An 'areial' view of the garden :) . . . and behind the garden, is the orchard and one of our beehives.
(the photo was taken from the 'tower' of our old swingset that my Dad had built back when my brother, sister and I were very young.)

The garden was planted late due to the late coming spring so we haven't started harvesting much from it, but there is the promise for abundant harvests before long.
This year I planted radishes underneath each of the cucumber trellises as I had read that they are a good pest deterrent and especially once they flower . . . thus far, they certainly seem to be, plus they are so pretty! And the bees and butterflies like them, too.

One of the cucumber plants climbing up the trellis

A view of both trellises . . . the near one didn't have any cucumbers come up on this side so Mom replanted them several days ago, and they're starting to come up now.

Basil that is ready to be harvested and dried

Our pepper plants are still small, but there are several good-sized peppers on them already!

A long (around 30') bed of carrots with parsnips in the foreground

Our celery plants are doing really well! We have around twenty-five of them and are hoping to enjoy the celery fresh and be able to freeze a bunch as well


 Our cabbage plants were hit hard by the cabbage worms this year. Usually we spray the plants with an organic spray (Thuricide) which takes care of the caterpillars, but that needed to be done while I was in the hospital so the plants got rather bug eaten. At least we have a few heads (such as the one above) that we'll be able to harvest!

This idea is working so far! Pole beans running up the tepee trellis, lettuce planted inside, and nasturtiums as a pest deterrent planted around the beans.

Lettuce inside the pole bean tepee trellis

A Lemon Yellow Squash . . . a new heirloom variety that we are trying this year as it is supposed to be pest tolerant. So far, it is the only squash variety we have had this year that we haven't lost a plant of! 

Two rows of Mangel Beets (for the goats and chickens), tomatoes on the back left and Crookneck yellow squash on the back right

We planted a tri-color mix of snap beans and only a few plants came up (due to one of the wet cold snaps we had early in the spring), but they have been fun as the flowers and beans are purple!

Sunflowers :) . . . planted just for the pleasure of their flowers and for the birds

The back of the garden . . . yellow squash in the foreground, then the mangel beets, potatoes, and more yellow squash. To the right, in the barer spot, is where the melons are . . . it won't be long before that will be filled in!

I love morning sunlight in the garden :)

Swiss Chard

More tomatoes! These are not in the main garden, and they are all colorful heirloom varieties which are a lot of fun to grow!

 Blueberries . . . we've been able to harvest quite a few of these and have been enjoying them fresh and have put a lot up in the freezer to be used later.

This is our first year to have apples on our trees! We don't have many, but we're hoping the few we do have will make it to harvest time.

We have a few peaches on our trees as well. Thanks to last fall's major hail storm, the trees needed to be heavily pruned as they were so badly damaged, hence, the crop this year is a lot smaller than it would have been otherwise. We're thankful that we have at least some, though!

The next photo isn't anything garden related :), but while I was photographing in the garden this morning, Leah brought our two orphan Boer kids out to the dairy goat pen for the day (they spend the night in the barn and the day out with the Alpines) so I snapped this photo of them . . .  

Both these girls are so sweet!

In other garden news, the overwintered kale that went to seed is ready to harvest seed from now . . .


I have been able to harvest a lot of seed so far (and there is still a lot more out there) so we should be able to plant a large crop of kale from our own seed this fall!

So there's a garden update! Mom has done an amazing job getting things cleaned up and mulched, and it is exciting to see how well it is doing so far. Now the harvesting is just around the corner, and we're all looking forward to that!


And as a little update on myself . . . since stopping the antibiotic last week, I haven't regressed, but am continuing to improve! We are so thankful to the Lord for that! There was one day (this past Sunday) that was a little bit concerning at first as I started having strange sensations in my legs and walking felt a bit strange. But then by Monday morning, they had dissipated and I found that going down the stairs was much easier for me and my legs were more coordinated, too! (Going down stairs has been the most difficult thing for me to do physically since coming home.) So . . . we think the 'strange sensations' were, in unscientific terms :), nerves reconnecting and muscles 'waking up' again. Another step forward! Day by day I am getting stronger and am able to do quite a bit more now . . . like beehive inspections with Dad this week and helping with the animal chores some now, too. Thank you all again for praying for me! 


  1. What a great blog entry! I loved seeing your garden and how it has grown! ours is maybe 1/10th the size of yours. We have had squash borers that have taken a toll on the plants... but today I put up a second batch of squash relish, and have frozen about a gallon of sliced squash (zucchini as well as yellow squash). We are eating our fill of squash as it comes from the garden... I am about ready to pull the plants! ;) But I will keep preserving and cooking as long as it lasts. The green beans will start any day now... and I am sure I will be canning plenty!
    I am so Thankful you are getting better day by day!

  2. So good to hear that you are feeling better, Sarah. It may take a while though.
    Your garden is wonderful, so prolific. We grew purple beans in France, and I was surprised that when cooked they turned green!
    We are hoping that our tomatoes will have enough sun to turn from green to red, but our weather is so changeable.

  3. Glad you are feeling better!

    Wow - your garden looks amazing! Productive and beautiful - love the trellis idea. It looks so neat and tidy too!

    My garden seems a little behind - there are apples on my apple trees and some strawberries and tayberries about. Still hopeful! x

  4. Your garden looks beautiful!

    So glad you're doing better each day. I'm still praying for you!


  5. Your garden is looking so good!! Our garden is coming along it's always such a learning process to figure out what is best to plant where and what to plant together. :) so glad you are doing better! I need to send you a package soon! :)

  6. I so enjoyed seeing pictures of and reading about your garden! It's looking great.

    We grow our tomatoes on cattle panels too. It works so nicely!

    And I'm so happy to hear you are getting stronger and are able to do more now! Praise the Lord!

    Love and prayers!

  7. Dear Sarah,

    It's so good to hear that you are improving ! I will continue to keep you in my prayers for a complete recovery. Our youngest daughter, Kathy, was in two different hospitals where she lives in Florida. The second hospital determined that she had a severe case of "cat scratch fever". She has been home for 3 weeks and is finally beginning to feel better. We'd appreciate prayers for her continued healing. She is married and has 4 children.
    Your garden is amazing - so large and so well cared for. It looks like you will all have a bounteous harvest.


  8. AnonymousJuly 10, 2013

    The garden looks great, Sarah!
    Keeping you in prayer,

  9. AnonymousJuly 11, 2013

    Wow, I love these pictures, Sarah! Especially since we are growing some of the same things you are (although our garden is way smaller :-). Your basil looks wonderful, and your peppers look amazing (ours didn't produce any fruit)! How do you dry your basil?

    That is so wonderful that you are getting stronger and improving. What a blessing from the Lord! Our physical illnesses demonstrate how weak we truly are without His love and power, don't they? It's only His grace sustaining us day by day!

    In Christ,

  10. Thank you, Tammy! I’m glad you enjoyed it. :) That’s great you’ve been able to harvest so much squash so far! It’s delicious, isn’t it? It's one of our favorite summer garden crops. That’s too bad that the squash borers have taken a toll on your plants! They are difficult pests to deal with. I’m wondering if they killed a number of our plants, too. So far, this hasn’t been a very good year for us with summer squash other than the “Lemon Squash” variety which is pest resistant. We’ll definitely be growing that variety again!

    Enjoy your green bean harvest! We are really late planting green beans this year and only have one small row planted so far, but we’re hoping to plant the rest soon. We always try to put up a bunch in the freezer as we love green beans!

    Thank you so much, Tammy! I am, too. :)

  11. Thank you, Elizabeth! The recovery has been a slow process . . . I am glad to be able to say, though, that just this week I made another big step forward! I’ve been able to do a lot more this week which I am thankful for.

    I had read that if you cook purple beans they turn green! Isn’t that interesting?!

    Hopefully your tomatoes will turn from green to red! And I hope that you have a bumper crop. :)

  12. Thank you, Jenny! :) I tried the trellis idea for the cucumbers several years ago and really liked it . . . now this year I’m experimenting with ‘tepee trellises’ for other crops and so far those seem to be working, too, which is nice!

    How exciting that you have some apples on your trees and then also have strawberries and tayberries! The former I have heard of before (and love them :), but what are tayberries? I hope your garden produces very well for you!

  13. Thank you so much, Joy! Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated, and I’m praying for you as well!

  14. Thank you, Nabila! Gardening is indeed a learning process, isn’t it? We learn something new every year it seems (and sometimes a lot of things new each year. :) It’s part of the gardening adventure! I hope your garden will produce bountifully for you.

    Aww, you are so sweet! I look forward to the package! (And I’m not sure if I have given you my address before or not . . . if you don’t have it and need it, just let me know and I can e-mail it to you.)

  15. I am glad that you enjoyed them, Amy! And thank you. :) This is our first year with growing some of our tomatoes on cattle panels, and we are liking it a lot so far. It is so easy!

    Thank you so much! Yes indeed praise Him!

  16. Thank you so much, Mary! I am so sorry to hear about your daughter, Kathy! I am glad, though, that they were able to get it diagnosed so they could begin treatment. I am praying for a full recovery for her!

    Thank you for your comment about our garden! My Mom has done a great job taking care of it and getting it back in shape. And we’re hoping for a bountiful harvest! :)

  17. Thank you so much, Mrs. Anne! You are a blessing. :)

  18. Thank you, Katie, for your comment! I always enjoy hearing from you. (And speaking of that . . . thank you for the e-mail that you sent recently! I hope to reply to it (and your other one) soon!)

    That is wonderful that you are able to have a garden this year! Vegetable gardening is so enjoyable. I hope that your pepper plants will start producing some peppers soon! Sometimes it can take awhile . . . some of our plants haven’t started yet either. :)

    For the basil, I simply cut it, wash it, tie the stems together in small bundles, and then hang it up to dry. It works really well!

    It is indeed a blessing from the Lord! I am so glad that He has answered our prayers with continued healing. He has been so good to me! Yes, indeed how weak we are without His grace . . . one verse that came to mind often through all of this is “My grace is sufficient for you”, and how true that is. Thank you again, Katie!

  19. Hello Sarah

    Lovely photos

    Hope this week finds you stronger and feeling even better

    Blessings to you and all the family

    Keeping you in my prayers


  20. Wow! Your garden looks sooo nice! It takes a lot of time and energy to keep a garden looking like that! I know you and your family work hard at it. :-) Oh, and I think you are the only people I've ever known of, besides us, that do tomatoes on stock panels like that. :-) It works well though, doesn't it?
    It's great to hear that you're doing better, Sarah!
    Thanks for a really nice post! :-)

  21. Hello Sarah!
    I just read about all that you have been through following the tick bite - and am so thankful you are improving.

    Your garden looks phenomenal!

    Love and Prayers,
    Rachel H

  22. Sarah,

    It's lovely to see how well your garden is doing.

    And even better that you are mending little by little and day by day.

    ...continuing to think of you:-)

  23. So glad to have just discovered your blog! Your gardens are beautiful. : )

  24. Dear Sarah -hope you are still improving and its being busy and catching up that is preventing you from posting

    Hopefully you will be able to post soon especially so we will know how you are

    Take care

    sending love and prayers

    Fiona x

  25. Thank you so much, Fiona, for both of your sweet comments! They were a blessing to me! Yes, wonderful busyness has been keeping me away from blogging . . . I am doing SO much better now and thank you very much for praying for me! The Lord has been so good to me! It has been wonderful to be able to be back to my normal day to day activities, and I have been relishing it. So much so that I have neglected my blog. I am sorry for the cause of concern that it was!! I hope to have a blog post up very soon. :)

  26. Thank you, Karen! We are pretty excited about how it is doing . . . now if we could just get rid of the blister beetles. :) They’ve done a number on the tomatoes and Swiss Chard!

    This is our first year using cattle panels for tomato plants (we got the idea from a friend), and we really like them! We would like to move to using them exclusively. The tepees have worked as well, but the tomato plants are so huge that we can’t see the tomatoes inside! Hope your garden is doing well!

    You’re welcome, and thank you! :)

  27. Thank you so much, Rachel, for your kind comment! It was good to hear from you again. :)

    It was quite the ordeal, but I am very thankful to be nearly back to normal now. The Lord has been so good to me through all of this! And taught me a great deal. Thank you again!

  28. Thank you, Amanda! Your comment made me smile. :) I hope you and your dear family are doing well and enjoying your summertime!

  29. Welcome to my blog, Sarah, and thank you for your comment! It was nice to ‘meet’ you, and I enjoyed visiting your blog. :)


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)